Chicken Club Sandwich

Every element being best in quality and at its freshest is the secret of sublime success with this sandwich. The bread is especially important. Ideal is the circular one-pound San Francisco sourdough loaf. Or it could be French or Italian country style. (American sliced bread doesn’t work.) The slice should be cut across the loaf, parallel to the bottom, ¼ inch thick, so two round slices, cut in half, serve as one large sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 6 thin slices bacon or pancetta
  • 4 large slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 whole chicken breast, poached, skinned, shredded by hand
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 pieces green leaf or curly leaf red lettuce, washed, dried
  • 6 slices ripe tomato, ¼ inch thick

Method

Lay the bacon or pancetta out in flat strips and broil or bake in the oven until crisp.

Grill, broil, or toast the bread until just golden. Immediately butter the bread; then spread the slices with mayonnaise. Put the chicken on the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Place the lettuce on top of the chicken, then the tomato slices, the bacon, and then the remaining bread. Cut each sandwich in half and serve with potato chips.

My once-a-year sandwich is a variation on a private passion: the hamburger—a supremely satisfying and nutritious quick meal, easy for anyone to achieve with perfection. I love lambburgers with cracked black pepper; hamburgers with poached garlic cloves and mint aioli (the J. T. Burger); hamburgers with salsa, avocado, and bacon; with basil or sage mayonnaise, tomatoes, and lettuce; or with horseradish cream sauce. But the ethereal one, my Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day lunch, is a:

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