Chicken Sandwiches with Roasted Tomatoes and Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Remember that pistachio and mint pesto recipe I shared a few days ago? It makes a mean sandwich. And because I’m one of the kindest, most generous people I know, I decided to post the recipe. Chicken sandwiches with roasted tomatoes and pistachio and mint pesto  served on Trader Joe’s half-baked panini rolls? Coming right up.

ParBakedRollsBut seriously. Before we get started, I need to give a shoutout to these rolls. They’re so good. You buy them half-baked at the store, take them home, finish them off in the oven, and you have …

ParBakedRolls2… hot and crusty fresh bread rolls! Crunchy on the outside, soft in the center.

ChickenPestoSandwich01Moving on. Let’s make sandwiches. Gather your ingredients: chicken (duh), tomatoes, pistachio and mint pesto, mayonnaise, flour, an egg, Parmesan cheese, Panko bread crumbs, some sort of lettuce (my mom used microgreens because she’s classy like that) and your favorite bread rolls.

ChickenPestoSandwich03First step? Roast your tomatoes. Something magical happens when you roast tomatoes. Even if you don’t start off with the best, most flavorful tomatoes in the world, after they’ve spent some time in a hot oven with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil they’re completely transformed. Anyway. To roast the tomatoes, simply cut them in half lengthwise, arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, season liberally with salt and pepper, and roast them until they look …

ChickenPestoSandwich04… like this. Don’t fret if the bottoms turn black. Black is good. Black is the new black.

ChickenPestoSandwich06While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the chicken. First, trim the chicken breasts and slice them in half horizontally (thin those bad boys out). Then, sandwich them in plastic wrap and lightly pound them until they’re about half an inch thick all over – even thickness helps them to cook … evenly. Next, set up three bowls. Or, if you’re efficient, one empty chicken container, one bowl and one paper towel – less washing up, you understand. Put flour in the first dish. In the second dish, a beaten egg. And in the third, Parmesan cheese and Panko (Japanese bread crumbs). You can use regular bread crumbs if you must, but Panko will give the chicken a lighter, crunchier coating. Now, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, dredge them in the flour, dip them in the beaten egg and coat them with the Panko-Parmesan mixture. Set them aside until they’re ready to cook. I suggest placing them on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy.

ChickenPestoSandwich07The next step is to make the secret sauce. To do so, just mix the pesto with mayonnaise until it looks like …

ChickenPestoSandwich08… this. Or however you want it to look, really. It’s your sandwich.

ChickenPestoSandwich10Now you’re ready to cook the chicken. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Then add the chicken breasts to the pan and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. I know it sounds strange to get it hot then turn it down, but trust me … er … my mom. It works. If you keep the temperature too high, you’ll have black chicken – Parmesan cheese tends to burn easily. Too low and it will be soggy. High then low = perfect chicken every time. Cook the chicken for three minutes on each side, or until it’s juicy, but not pink. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but be careful not to overcook it.

ChickenPestoSandwich12Last step! Assemble the sandwiches. Let’s take it from the top: bread, pesto mayonnaise, microgreens, tomatoes, chicken, bread.

ChickenPestoSandwich14Done.

ChickenPestoSandwich16

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches)

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • Pistachio and mint pesto – as much as you want
  • Mayonnaise – again, as much as you want
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Microgreens
  • 4 bread rolls

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, arrange on parchment lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 45 minutes, checking after 30 minutes
  3. Mix pesto and mayonnaise together in a bowl and set aside
  4. Trim chicken breasts and slice in half horizontally
  5. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly until they’re about 1/2 inch thick
  6. Set up three dishes; one for flour, one for beaten eggs and one for the Parmesan cheese and Panko (mixed together)
  7. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, dip in beaten egg and coat with Panko/Parmesan mixture
  8. Set chicken aside on wire racks until ready to cook
  9. Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat
  10. Add chicken breasts to the pan and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low
  11. Cook chicken for three minutes on each side, or until it’s juicy, but not pink
  12. Assemble sandwiches: bread, chicken, tomatoes, microgreens, pesto mayonnaise, bread
  13. Eat and enjoy!

Fiona

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