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~ Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches ~

IMG_6876Looking for a pretty-as-a picture Spring-Summer sandwich to serve at a ladies lunch or brunch -- one that, once they taste it, will appeal to the men-in-your-life as well?  You found it.  Tender and juicy, sliced or pulled, poached- or roasted- chicken breast, served on freshly-baked buttermilk biscuits or toasted English muffins is divine.  Topped with a fresh strawberry vinaigrette, it's sublime.  There's more.  A woman, by the name of Helen Corbett, a food-service mananger for Neiman Marcus, is to thank for promoting several unique strawberry dishes in a big way:

IMG_6836During the 1970's, the chicken, spinach and strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing, and, the strawberry-chicken and Brie sandwich with strawberry mayonnaise were made famous in the Zodiac Room of Neiman Marcus's flagship store in Dallas. The Zodiac also featured giant popovers with a creamy-dreamy strawberry and herb butter. I had the pleasure of eating lunch there on several occasions, and it was those Neiman Marcus salads and sandwiches that caused me to experiment with strawberries, in place of tomatoes, in salad and sandwich recipes using a variety of other greens and proteins too.  It was only natural that I would experiment with sweet and savory salad dressings and vinaigrettes containing strawberries too.

The star of this sandwich is this dazzling strawberry vinaigrette:

IMG_6687For my strawberry vinaigrette:

8-10  ounces fresh strawberries, cut into quarters (8-10 ounces after removing leafy green tops)

10  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1/4  cup honey

1/4  cup strawberry jam or strawberry preserves

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2-3/4  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

6  tablespoons vegetable oil

IMG_6689 IMG_6689 IMG_6689 IMG_6689 IMG_6689 IMG_6689 IMG_6689~Step 1.  Place the strawberries in work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.  Using a series of 15-20 rapid on-off pulses followed by the motor running for 15-20 seconds, puree the strawberries.  Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the vegetable oil.  With motor running, process until thoroughly combined and smooth.  With motor running, through the feed tube and in a slow, steady stream, drizzle in the vegetable oil.  Dressing will be smooth and emulsified, and, there will be a generous 2 1/2 cups.  Leftovers (if there is leftover vinaigrette) store great in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Before making my sandwiches, read this ground-rule carefully:

Please refrain from putting bacon on these sandwiches.  Contrary to popular belief, everything does not taste better with bacon and the refined flavors of this sandwich will be overpowered by it. Ok, go ahead, put bacon on it, but if you do, skip the herbed-Brie, head for the blue cheese, name it after any number of bacon and blue cheese sandwiches, and, don't tell anyone you got the inspiration for your generic sandwich from me.  No bacon.  Got it?  Good.  Now proceed.

IMG_6852For the sandwiches:

8  biscuits, preferably freshly-baked and warm, sliced in half, or, lightly-toasted English muffins, or, small, soft sandwich rolls, sliced in half, your choice

1/2-3/4-pound wedge of herbed-Brie, 1/4" sliced, then sliced to fit one layer of Brie on the bottom of each sandwich

1/2-3/4  cup chopped candied pecans, or lightly-toasted and coarsely-chopped, pecans or walnuts (1-1/2 tablespoons per sandwich)

1  cup each:  chiffonade of romaine lettuce (or iceberg lettuce), sliced or diced fresh strawberries, and, thinly-sliced red onion (cut into half-moon shapes, half-moons cut into thirds), tossed together, (1/3-1/2 cup lettuce/strawberry and onion mixture per sandwich) 

2  whole roasted- or poached- chicken breast halves, pulled into bite-sized pieces

strawberry white-balsamic vinaigrette (from above recipe)

IMG_6856 IMG_6856 IMG_6856 IMG_6856 IMG_6863 IMG_6863~Step 1.  Slather the bottom of each biscuit with a scant tablespoon of strawberry vinaigrette. Place 4-5 small pieces of sliced herbed-Brie on the bottom of each biscuit half, sizing them to fit. Scatter a generous tablespoon of the chopped nuts over the cheese.  Top with a generous 1/3-1/2 cup of the lettuce, strawberry and onion mixture.  Heap a generous mound of pulled or thinly-sliced roasted or poached chicken, about 1/4 of a chicken breast, which a lot of meat) atop the lettuce mixture.  Drizzle with dressing and garnish with a few more nuts.  Top with the other half of the warm biscuit.  Serve each sandwich, as soon as possible, with additional strawberry-vinaigrette to the side for dipping or drizzling.

A pretty little sandwich with an interesting history.  Sweet.  

IMG_6895Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches:  Recipe yields 2 cups strawberry vinaigrette and 8 biscuit- or English-muffin-sized sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; food processor

IMG_6809Cook's Note:  If it's something more carnivorous you crave, you can make today's chicken sandwiches substituting my perfectly-cooked 18-minute flank steak for the chicken, or, you can try my ~ Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad ~ (which gets its sweet & savory crunch from candied pecans.  Trust me when I tell you, sweet, tart strawberries (used in place of tomatoes) hold their own quite well against bold-flavored meat like steak and lamb.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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