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What's Hot in Grilled Sandwiches

What's Hot in Grilled Sandwiches

Operators talk about how they put sizzle into this important menu category.

Mary Spooner

Associate Director, Dining Services

Rush-Presbytarian-St. Luke’s Medical Ctr.


"We have a Tandoori Grilled Chicken Sandwich that is on the six-week cycle of specials at our Room 500 restaurant and it always sells out."

Rick LecCese

Food Service Director (Aramark)

Sprint World Headquarters

Overland Park, KS

"We recently introduced Aramark’s new ‘10 Under 10’ light sandwich concept as a menu refresh. The grilled selections are cold, with the grilling done beforehand and the meat served cold. However, we have a panini grill for customers who want their sandwiches warmed."

John Whitcomb

VP-Merchandising & Concept Development

Whitsons Food Service

Huntington Station, NY

"We’ve been taking raw pizza dough, about four or five ounces rolled thin, splashing it with olive oil, salt and pepper and perhaps some garlic, and then tossing it on a charbroiler for 30 seconds a side. The dough comes off the grill soft, but with wonderfully attractive grill lines. We use it to make wrap sandwiches, loading it with chicken, beef or grilled vegetables (see recipe below for one glazed vegetable filling option). We also use it as a vessel to hold salads or as a pizza base."


Grilled Chili Chicken Breast Sandwich

Yield: 24 servings

24 4-in. round sourdough rolls,

split in half

3 cups sweet chili sauce

12 oz. fresh whole-leaf spinach

11Ú2 lb. fresh tomatoes, 1Ú8-inch slice

11Ú2 lb. fresh cucumbers, peeled

and 1Ú8-inch slice

24 chicken breasts,

marinated in low-cal

Italian dressing, grilled

and chilled

1 tsp. whole black pepper

1. Spread cut sides of each roll with 2 Tbsps. chili sauce, and layer 1Ú2 oz. spinach, 1 oz. tomatoes, 1 oz. cucumbers, 1 chicken breast and 4 grinds of black pepper on one half of each roll. Top with other half of roll and serve immediately.

Recipe from Aramark

Smoked Gouda

Tuna Melt

Yield: 27 servings

43 oz. white tuna

32 oz. cream cheese, softened

32 oz. smoked Gouda cheese

54 slices bacon, crisply cooked

27 slices tomato

54 slices bread of choice

as needed butter

1. Drain and flake tuna, and set aside. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and Gouda. Stir tuna and cheese mixture together until blended well.

2. Portion tuna/cheese mixture using 4-oz. scoop, putting one scoop on each of 27 slices of bread. Spread and top with two slices of bacon and one tomato slice. Cover with a second slice of bread, butter outsides of sandwiches and grill each side until golden brown.

Recipe from Chicken of the Sea


Tandoori Chicken Sandwich

Yield: 6 servings

1 cup plain yogurt

2 Tbsps. fresh ginger, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1Ú2 tsp. ground cumin

1Ú2 tsp. ground coriander

1Ú4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1Ú4 tsp. turmeric

6 skinless and boneless chicken

breast halves

2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice

as needed salt

12 slices sourdough bread


1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed

1 jalapeno chili, seeded and


3 Tbsps. onion, chopped

2 tsps. cider vinegar

1Ú2 cup mayonnaise

1. Mix together yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices in medium bowl. Arrange chicken in single layer on large glass baking dish, sprinkle with lemon juice, season with salt and coat with yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate 3-8 hours.

2. Prepare barbecue or preheat broiler to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade (do not wipe clean) and grill or broil until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cool slightly (chicken can also be prepared up to 2 hours. ahead–cover and let stand at room temperature).

3. Lightly toast or grill bread. Remove from heat and spread one side generously with Indian mayonnaise (see recipe below). Slice chicken diagonally and place each sliced breast atop one slice of bread. Top with remaining 6 slices of bread, cut sandwiches in half and serve warm or at room temperature.

4. For mayonnaise (makes approx. 1 cup): combine mint, cilantro, jalapeno and onion in food processor and process until finely chopped. Mix in vinegar, add mayonnaise and process until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Note: can be prepared up to 3 days ahead; to store, cover tightly and refrigerate.

Recipe from Mary Spooner, Rush-Presbytarian-St. Luke’s Medical Ctr..

Tuscan-Style Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yield: 12 servings

36 spears grilled asparagus

1 cup balsamic/garlic/olive oil


24 slices crusty sourdough bread

24 slices fontina cheese

24 slices mozzarella cheese

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cups roasted red pepper pieces

24 slices provolone cheese

as needed virgin olive oil

12 fresh fruit kebobs

1. Toss asparagus with vinaigrette and let stand covered and refrigerated at least 2 hrs.

2. Top 12 slices of bread with (in order) 2 slices fontina, 3 asparagus spears, 2 slices mozzarella, 6 basil leaves, 21Ú2 Tbsps. red pepper and 2 slices provolone. Cover each with second slice of bread, brush both sides of sandwich lightly with olive oil. Griddle on both sides in nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden brown, transfer to sheet pan and warm in 350°F oven 8-10 min. or until heated through.

3. To serve, cut each sandwich on the diagonal and serve with fruit kabob.

Recipe from Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Balsamic Glazed Vegetables

Yield: 12 6-oz. servings


4 oz. olive oil

4 oz. balsamic vinegar

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 springs rosemary, chopped

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. black pepper, cracked

12 rosemary springs (garnish)

3 eggplants, cut 1Ú2-inch thick

3 zucchini, cut on bias

3 yellow squash, cut on bias

3 red peppers, quartered

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Toss with the cut eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers. Let soak until well marinated. Reserve any additional marinade.

2. On a hot grill, cook the vegetables until well seared on both sides and tender. Remove and chill thoroughly.

3. Stack the vegetables into 6 oz. portions beginning with the eggplant and finishing with the red pepper. Ladle over the reserved marinade on top of each portion and skewer a rosemary skewer through the center. Place on a serving platter.

Recipe from John Whitcomb, Whitsons Food Service.

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