I’m not tooting my own horn here (lies), but I kicked off the little red chicken 2012 kitchen adventures with the invention of a sandwich. A chicken sandwich, naturally. I’m a little hesitant to proclaim myself an inventor on the internet. I’m pretty sure I’ll get angry emails from people telling me this sandwich has already been invented by Jamie or Gordon or Nigella. But for now, I’m claiming full responsibility for the best chicken sandwich I have ever eaten.
It was that week in January when there’s a random assortment of holiday food in the house. There’d be no other reason for me to have mini ciabattas in my deepfreeze and chives sitting in my fridge. For shame! Chives are deadly! I had invited some family over for lunch a couple of days earlier and made two roast chickens. We wiped out one of them, but the other was sitting in my fridge, all forlorn-looking like a turkey on boxing day. Luckily nothing’s forlorn in my fridge for long, so one night the ciabattas came out of the freezer and the sandwich gods aligned my stars.
Some of you may have guessed by now that I have a strange obsession with smoked paprika. I’ve mentioned it in a few posts and I will continue to do so until I change the world one tin of smoked paprika at a time. It’s not just me; I made my smoky roasted potatoes for my sister and brother-in-law last year on a visit to Halifax and I left a tin of the stuff at their place. Shortly after, Robin emailed to tell me it had changed her life. And it could change yours. Especially if you’re a vegetarian/vegan and you miss bacon. I had a few vegetarian pals over for a meal last winter and made a baked black bean dip with cheese. Robert came too, and halfway through the appetizer he leaned over and whispered, “You didn’t put bacon in this did you?” Mildly insulted, I rolled my eyes and said “Jesus Robert, it’s the applewood smoked cheddar and smoked paprika.” Great for roasted potatoes, eggs, burritos, anywhere you want a deep smoky flavour. Used unapologetically and profusely in my kitchen, especially when I cook for vegetarians. I figure if you make everything taste like bacon without using meat, no one will be angry. Not even the vegans. I think.
On to the little red kitchen chicken sandwich. I made it to taste and you should too, depending on how smoky/salty/creamy you like your sandwiches. Chop up some leftover roast chicken. Add fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, some chopped chives and a generous amount of smoked paprika. Lightly toast some mini ciabatta buns in the oven, then add the chicken mixture and some greens.
I’m normally against all things labeled low-fat because they’re filled with weird and unpronounceable ingredients, but I like the Hellman’s half-fat olive oil mayonnaise. And for the love and honour don’t use Miracle Whip, or as I like to call it, The Childhood Mayonnaise of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians Everywhere. You don’t need tangy zip, you just need regular mayonnaise. I think I used McCormick’s brand smoked paprika; you can usually find it in the aisle with the regular spices at the grocery store. Look a little harder and you might find the La Chinata brand. It’s Spanish and gorgeous but it’s really hot. You might be up for it, but it might scare some people. Have a go, but take it easy.
Have with beer in front of the TV. Quick and impressive and you can be all “What, it’s just a chicken sandwich,” when deep in your heart you know you’ve just converted someone over to the smoky side. Yes, I just rolled my eyes at myself.