Simply salad and sangria is not enough to satiate Sarah, Seth, Shauna and us. And so we've been rotating duties of salad, sangria and an added main dish weekly. Last week was my turn for a main dish.
I don't cook that well for large groups (and by that I mean anything over 3). In fact, I was asked by someone last week if I had any recipes for her family get-together. She was going to have 19 people at her house for the fourth of July. I got scared by the sheer numbers and wimped out by offering up a turkey burger recipe. (Anyone out there have good group recipes? Please let us know!)
So when there are 5 people to feed, I feel slightly out of my comfort zone. And since Seth had already made quesadillas the week before (great group recipe idea, dang it), I had to go somewhere else for inspiration. I settled on the queen of fancy get-togethers, Ina Garten, or the Barefoot Contessa. I have her barefoot contessa at home book and love it. My favorite recipe from there is a Caesar Club Sandwich, which I've faithfully reconstructed many a time. Of course, it's also super versatile, so it's easy for me to mess with. I made a version of that for the night and it was great. Some crispy pancetta, some yummy chicken, some creamy dressing and some crunchy bread. Perfect to eat while watching gourmet chefs slicing and dicing on tv and not feel too shabby at all about the deliciousness that's going into your mouth at that moment.
Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
1 loaf sliced sourdough bread (get good crusty stuff if you can find it)
1 rotisserie chicken, hand shredded
8 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (bacon or turkey bacon works just as well)
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, tomatoes slice lengthwise
Parmesan cheese (best shaved, I had to used shredded)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T dried parsley leaves
2 t anchovy paste
2 t Dijon mustard
3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, moving one rack up to the top of the oven
2. Spread pancetta slices on a parchment paper lined sheet pan (parchment paper leads to easy clean up)
3. Roast pancetta for about 20 minutes, or until crisp, remove, and drain on paper towels
4. Place bread on oven rack to toast while making the spread (don't toast too much, it makes them hard to crunch through)
4. In a small food processor, chop garlic cloves with parsley till minced
5. Add anchovy paste, Dijon, lemon juice and mayo and process till smooth
6. Assemble the sandwiches by placing spread on both slices of bread, placing spinach on both sides, then topping one side with sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, pancetta, chicken and salt and pepper.
7. Place top half on and you're good to go!