Thursday, August 20, 2009

*a sandwich story.

When I was a wee tot, my mother grew increasingly worried that I was, in her words, "going to turn into a grilled chicken sandwich." In my defense, I felt it was a way to surreptitiously order the one thing on the menu that came with fries, and I could sneak them past her while she remained none the wiser.

I scored very high on standardized testing.

Last night I tried The Pioneer Woman's oddly monikered Crash Hot Potatoes—small round potatoes boiled until fork-tender, gently smashed (or, in my case, obliterated) on a cookie sheet, dabbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary, and roasted until flaky and crispy on the outside and tender and buttery inside.

tater smash.

I didn't get a decent shot of the finished result because I lost the light, but trust me when I say these are some of the best homemade potatoes I've ever produced.

mash potato.

The peels get crackly and salty, and the flesh tastes like it's drowning in butter even though it's only kissed with olive oil. You have to go make these now.

I'm not kidding.

Seriously, I'll wait.


OK, fine. If you must continue your rapt attention to my prose, you must.

Alongside, Ina's Caesar Club Sandwich. Why? Because I defy you to find anything Ina makes that isn't perfection.

Bone-in chicken goes into the oven with a smear of oil and salt and pepper. That's it. (Don't mess with Ina.)


Just 35 minutes later it's sitting on a plate staring at you, all mock modest and "What? Like you've never seen tender, moist chicken before?"

chick roast.

I almost snuck a taste—what Ina does to chickens can bring even strident vegetarians to the meat counter, and I'm not a strident vegetarian. I have strident opinions, and a strident demeanor, and strident heartburn, but that's pretty much where it ends.

The recipe calls for a dressing made from mayo, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, and anchovy paste, but the Winn-Dix was out of (or never carries) anchovy paste. It's a little more downscale, as grocers go, which is why I frequent it. And why it sells 10 for $10 CheezBallz but not anchovy paste.

A whirl in the little processor

ina mayo.

and spread on toasted bread.


The toasting—shoving the loaf (which Ina helpfully reminds imbeciles to "slice in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom")—is supremely important, because the toppings are robust and the bread is ... well, on the Woodside, cheap.

It peps up the taste and texture to have some crispityness happening. Technical term, that.

Next, the chopped chicken, bacon slices (the Winn-Dix don't do prosciutto), lettuce (the Winn-Dix don't do arugula), and sun-dried tomatoes (nixed because while the Winn-Dix DO do sun-dried tomatoes, they cost $8 a jar). Also some shaved Parmesan and some slices of Monterey Jack cheese, which I added to give heft to the vegetarian half.

I could have gone with fresh tomatoes, but some crazy weirdos don't like them.

chicken wich.

So freakin' good. And worth it, all the extra steps that elevate a sandwich from Subway to holycrap. The secret is really in the dressed-up mayo, which will make you never want plain old Hellman's again. Because the flavor is so pronounced, with the fresh lemon and bright parsley and tangy Dijon, you don't need a lot. That way, you can eat half a loaf of bread and not feel guilty.


I feel it necessary to point out that I have not, in fact, turned into a chicken sandwich as a result of this culinary exploit.

See? Me.

c'est moi.

Chicken sandwich.

chicken wich.


c'est moi.

Chicken sandwich.

chicken wich.

Which reminds me:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for the forehead.

Love, K


at: 5:43 PM said...


at: 10:29 PM said...

I made those potatoes a few weeks ago and they are spectacular, although it should be noted that if not boiled long enough they will become projectiles when you try to smash them. Also, I put mine on the grill with the meat which was tasty.

What's Next? says:
at: 10:31 PM said...

OK ... yes, I am laughing out loud.

at: 6:49 PM said...

K - incredibly witty and talented!! Thanks for great recipes and laughter. MW



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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.