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Chefs Get Healthy With Chicken Sandwiches

Chefs Get Healthy With Chicken Sandwiches

From better bread to herbaceous spreads, chicken sandwiches get lighter and brighter for summer.

Ryan McNulty
Ryan McNulty
James Roth
James Roth

"We're getting rid of ‘Wonder Bread sandwiches.’ Our new proof and bake program, in 30 accounts right now, starts with frozen dough that’s proofed overnight and then baked into five types of artisanal-style, rustic bread. While it’s not feasible for many operations to bake fresh bread every day, this way you get that aroma.

“We use a 7-seed bread that goes great with grilled chicken. The breads are all customizable. If you have a sandwich with an Italian profile, you can add oils and fresh herbs to the bread.

“Sandwiches are even healthier with our new pestos: cilantro, traditional, sundried tomato and chipotle.” —Ryan McNulty, CEC, Director of Culinary Development, Metz Culinary Management

“The BBQ pulled chicken wrap begins with half of a lavash wrap that’s just 50 calories. From there, we add chicken that’s been rubbed with spices and baked and tossed with BBQ sauce and red chili sauce.

“We top it with a Carolina-style tri-color slaw: red cabbage, lots of vinegar...this satisfying, summery sandwich comes comes in under 500 calories.” —James Roth, CEC, executive chef, Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, IL

Grilled Chicken Panini with Arugula Aioli

YIELD: 4 sandwiches

For the aioli:
1⁄4 cup low-fat real mayonnaise
1 cup arugula
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt

For the sandwiches:
4 boneless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 red bell peppers
8 slices grainy bread (such as toasted honey sunflower or three-cheese semolina)
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
1 cup baby spinach
pat of butter, as needed

1. For the aioli: Place mayo, arugula, parsley and garlic into a food processor and blend well. Gradually add the olive oil until the mayo has a smooth consistency (it will have flecks of green arugula). Salt to taste.
2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with Herbes de Provence. Cook on both sides about 4 minutes each or until completely cooked through. Set aside.
3. Cook bell peppers on grill or under broiler for about 10 minutes so flesh is blistered but not burnt. Alternately, use a pair of tongs and hold peppers over gas flame on stove. Discard seeds and stems and cut into strips.
4. Spread 1 Tbsp. of aioli onto the insides of bread slices. Lay a small bunch of spinach on the aioli, then add chicken and red pepper and  the top slice of bread.
5. Add a little butter to the grill and cook the Panini over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until toasted with grill marks.

Photo and recipe: Deborah Duncan/Delicious Happens for La Brea Bakery

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