One of my favourite indulgences is a trip to “California Sandwiches”. I always get the breaded chicken, with peppers and onions. When that monster sandwich is handed to me, loosely wrapped in foiled paper, nothing else matters. With my sleeves rolled up, and napkins a plenty; I dig in. And I finish it, every.single.time.
Now, dangerously, I can make this sandwich at home. I’m not going to make a ludicrous claim that the sandwich that lays before you is the same as the one from California Sandwiches. However, it is mighty delicious. And, in my eyes, a healthier option because it’s baked, not fried and you can portion control.
Can I admit something to you all? This was the first time I had ever used panko bread crumbs. I have to say, they really do add a different crunch than other breadcrumbs I’ve used….I now understand the hype. If you’d rather not buy this item, you could use regular ol’ breadcrumbs as well. In all honesty, some (just some) of the crunch is lost when the tomato sauce is added anyway.
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons water
2 chicken breasts, butterflied and halved (making 4 pieces)
1/2 – 1 cup marinara sauce (depending on how saucy you like it – I simply used hand crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Use what you like)
1/2 – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 soft buns
1. Preheat the oven to 475F. Place a wire rack over a foil lined baking sheet and spray with cooking spray (or lightly oil)
2. In a large frying pan, combine olive oil and panko. Toast over medium heat until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Put aside in a shallow dish to cool. Once cooled, add parmesan cheese.
3. On a plate, combine flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
4. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites with water.
5. Time to bread that chicken. Dip the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in the egg mixture, allowing any excess egg to drip off. Place chicken in panko and coat well. You may have to press the panko into the chicken to help it stick. Repeat with all remaining chicken pieces.
**Tip, try and keep one hand “wet” and one hand “dry” when coating the chicken. It helps prevent all your fingers being clumsily coated.**
6. Bake the chicken for about 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken), or until firm/no longer pink. At this point, spoon 2-4 tablespoons marinara and about 2 tablespoons cheese on the chicken. Return to the oven and bake until cheese melted (about 5 minutes more).
7. While the chicken is baking, sauté the peppers and onions in the same frying pan you used to toast the breadcrumbs, until softened. It will take about 10 minutes.
8. Assemble your own monster sandwich. Don’t forget those napkins.
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats