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The New Chicken Salad Sandwich

A napoleon with a side of tasty, summery chicken salad.

If I were on a cooking show and they asked me to do a rendering of a typical summer meal, I think this is the choice I would make: a deconstructed chicken salad sandwich. The chicken salad has dill- and lime-flavored mayonnaise for a summery, earthy hint and is served just a little warm with a polenta, fried tomato and fresh buffalo mozzarella napoleon as the “bun” and toppings. It is a fun dish and is light enough to not make you sluggish, but filling and well-balanced.

The Ingredients:

For the chicken salad:

1 package skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts

Mayonnaise

Dill to taste (no more than a teaspoon, though – it'll overpower the other flavors)

Cracked black pepper

For the napoleon:

Organic ready-to-serve polenta

Organic “on the vine” tomatoes (this is not based on flavor, they are simply the right size for stacking)

Fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced about ½ inch thick

Flour, egg and breadcrumbs for the dredge

Vegetable oil for frying (a little less than half a cup)

The Steps:

Boil the chicken. Set up a medium saute pan with the vegetable oil over medium heat. While the chicken is boiling, slice the tomatoes, polenta and buffalo mozzarella. Fun Fact: it is called buffalo mozzarella because it is made from the milk of water buffalo. The tomatoes should be about ¼ of an inch thick, while the polenta and mozzarella about ½ inch thick.

Beat one egg in one plate and place about ¾ cup of breadcrumbs in another and ¼ cup organic flour in yet another. When the oil is hot enough for frying, dredge the tomatoes in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and place in the saute pan. Once they are crisp (flipping once), lay to dry on a paper towel.

Set up another saute pan with a little non-stick cooking spray (Pam) (or my favorite: bacon fat. Hey, no one's perfect) over medium-heat and place the polenta slices in the pan. These will cook fast, so be ready to remove them once they are a little crispy on the edges (flipping once).

At this point, the chicken should be done, so remove that from the heat and preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a sheet pan with foil and layer the napoleons with the polenta first, fried tomato next and mozzarella on top (you can do more than three layers if you'd like). Pop those in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

Process the chicken in a food processor. Once it is down to the size you want, remove from the processor and toss into your mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise (I've discovered McCormick's lime flavored mayo – delicious), dill and cracked pepper. Remove the napoleons once the cheese is gooey. Place them on a plate with a nice scoop of slightly warm chicken salad. I also found a tomatillo and green pepper salsa at Four Seasons Market to use as a drizzle.  Mmm.  Enjoy!

Sharon Lea Adinolfi June 29, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Wow! This looks lovely. Very creative. I'm not used to slicing polenta. I thought you wisked it and always served it at the first snowfall.
Maureen Dixon June 29, 2011 at 01:24 AM
This looks delish! And I've never even eaten polenta before! Thanks for the great idea!
Victoriaanna Adinolfi June 29, 2011 at 10:25 PM
I'm sure you can also stone grind it, if you really wanted to go authentic. But for the modern Italian, pre-made polenta in a tube is a handy time saver. I promise if you try it, you'll like it. You can also grill it!
Victoriaanna Adinolfi June 29, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Polenta is a wonder food. In it's tube form or like my mother references, cream of wheat style, it is a filling peasant staple. And what isn't made better by slathering a fried tomato and gooey cheese? IRS forms, maybe...
Maureen Dixon June 30, 2011 at 03:25 AM
OK, I'm sold on it!!! Now, if only I could find a man to make it for me! hahaha SWF seeking man-cook that specializes in deconstructed chicken salad....
Liz June 30, 2011 at 10:47 AM
YUM!! And you're right even ice cream ,chocolate syrup and a brownie wouldn't make IRS forms any better...........

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