Chicken Salad Sandwich
Twins! Two Boys to be exact. Not sure if you know this but according to the New York Times, “from 1980 to 2009 a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics tells us that, the rate of twin births rose 76 percent. Now about one in 30 babies born in the United States is a twin.” Did you know this? I sure didn’t, in fact I had no thoughts whatsoever to the twin birth rate at all. I have only known three sets of twins my entire life not counting Mary-Kate and Ashley. So imagine my initial surprise to find out that my sister Ashley is pregnant! But not only is she pregnant but there’s two floating around in there! Two boys to be precise.
My sister currently lives with our parents in the house we grew up in. My old room is now the nursery complete with a jungle theme that Ashley painted on the walls herself. Before that same room was mine, Ashley and I shared it for about eight years when we were growing up. If those walls could talk they would tell you the history of two girls that played house, Barbie, dress-up and makeovers with blue eye shadow and red lipstick and when we got older fights and makeups. But now this room is ready for a new beginning and a new story to tell of two little boys that will fill the space with their ever bounding energy and love as they grow.
Last week was her “babies” shower and we hosted a party of about twenty lovely ladies. Let me tell you one thing, it is really hard to find party decorations having anything to do with twins. I didn’t find one thing so, I had to make do with “It’s A Boy” and turning it into “It’s A Boys.” Kind of funny and in the end we all had a good laugh about it. So what do you serve a bunch of ladies in the middle of sizzling hot summer in Vegas? Chicken salad of course. I was serving a lot of hungry ladies so I doubled this recipe.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup mayonnaise, plus more for the sandwich
1 cup of red grapes, cut in half
1 medium size shallot, minced
3 stocks of celery, small dice
2 tablespoons of tarragon, minced
Zest of one large orange
2 tablespoons of orange juice
½ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
1 bag of arugula
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
Serves 6 to 8 people
Set your oven to 350º, place the chicken on a baking sheet and rub with olive oil. Then, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked allow it to sit out to cool.
While the chicken is cooking, start your dressing. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, shallot, orange zest, orange juice, pepper and salt to taste then set aside.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into a small dice and place in a large bowl. Add the celery, grapes, tarragon and all the dressing. Mix together until well combined, give it a taste to see if it needs more salt.
Now it’s time to assemble the sandwiches. So, because I made these for a “babies” shower I made them quite small and cute but for every day, a nice lunch size sandwich would be amazing.
Cut your ciabatta in half opening up the loaf. Now with the top half facing up, pick out some of the inner bread. I find this helps you not to get a mouth full of bread when you bite into the sandwich and helps to hold the chicken salad in place.
Next, cut your bread into the desired size and scoop the chicken salad onto one side of the bread and top with some arugula. On the other side spread a little mayonnaise and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Place the two halves together and eat up!
The sandwiches were a hit with all the guests. The perfect accompaniment to the vegetable and fruit platters my mom laid out and the four dozen or so chocolate and lemon cupcakes I made as a sweet ending.
P.S. you can save all that bread you picked out for fresh bread crumbs. Save them in your freezer for a later use.