Patricia Wells, author of Salad as a Meal, is the ingenious innovator of this Deconstructed Club Sandwich Salad, equal parts sandwich and salad. Basically an open-faced club sandwich topped with a chopped salad, it's a meal that incorporates the best of both worlds.
Wells' recipe calls for chicken breasts poached and cooled in an aromatic stock, crisp slices of bacon, crusty sourdough, heirloom tomatoes and romaine, and a creamy-tangy lemon-mustard dressing that you'll want to spread on pretty much everything. When it's time to plate, a slice of toasted sourdough is spread with the lemon-mustard dressing, layered with chicken and bacon, and topped with a pile of chopped and dressed lettuce and tomatoes.
Fork and knife sandwich or bready salad, either way this is the perfect summertime lunch.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Salad as a Meal to give away this week.
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 8 thin slices smoked bacon
- 4 firm ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped (3 cups)
- Creamy Lemon-Mustard Dressing (recipe follows)
- 4 thin slices sourdough bread, toasted
- 2 Poached Chicken Breasts, cut lengthwise into thin slices (recipe follows)
- Creamy Lemon-Mustard Dressing
- Grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 tablespoon imported French mustard
- Poached Chicken Breasts:
- 1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 onion, quartered (do not peel)
- Several fresh tarragon leaves
- Several fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 celery rib or several celery leaves, chopped
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 4 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 6 fresh parsley sprigs
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each about 8 ounces)
For the Creamy Lemon-Mustard Dressing: In the jar, combine the zest, lemon juice, and salt. Cover with the lid and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the cream and mustard. Shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. The dressing can be used immediately. (Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake to blend again before using.)
For the Poached Chicken Breasts: In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken. Cover, bring to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Carefully slip the chicken breasts into the stock, making sure they are fully covered by the liquid. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat (keeping it covered), and let the chicken cool to room temperature in the stock for 1 hour.
The chicken can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered in the stock. The stock can be stained and used to prepare chicken soup or reduced and used for a sauce. (Store the chicken in an airtight container in the stock in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
For the Salad: In a large, dry skillet, brown the bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to several layers of paper towels to absorb the fat.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes and chopped lettuce. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the ingredients.
Place a slice of toast in the center of each dinner plate and drizzle with the dressing. Layer several slices of chicken on top of the toast. Arrange 2 slices of bacon on top of the chicken. Shower with the tomato salad.