To me, this is a sandwich. Not a tea sandwich. Not a school lunch sandwich. Not a Malcolm sandwich. It isn’t elegant or delicate or pretty. I think my dad would call it a “sangwich”. It’s juicy, drippy, messy and potent. There is lots of garlic, butter, and olive oil involved. It’s a sandwich I would wait on line for, at an Italian deli, between a small Asian student and a burly working man. Crammed between the bagel chips and fancy sodas, awkwardly holding my wallet, because I never seem to have any pockets. Under the heat lamps, behind the glass, surly teenagers with curly hair in matching green t-shirts make the sandwiches and wrap them in paper, judging, snapping gum, wishing you weren’t there. A fly zips overhead. It’s too warm inside the shop, causing everyone to remove layers of clothing. When the mailman opens the door to the cold we all shiver. It’s starting to snow. It’s my turn to step up and order. Did I make this sandwich just to imagine a very specific scenario about waiting in a fictionalized or generalized or a composite reality of a place I knew once many years ago? A place I have no real reason to miss, just that it was part of the fabric of a life that was lifetimes ago? In that world there were people I miss I don’t see anymore, some of whom are dead. And sometimes it seems like things were easier then. Even though I like my life now more and almost feel like I’m living in the skin that I was meant to. Maybe I just wanted to eat a really freaking good sandwich. This is comfort food to me. I hope you like it a lot.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and sliced into 4 cutlets
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
- 1 large loaf rustic bread, cut into 4 sandwich-size portions, split open
- 3–4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- In a deep dish or small baking pan combine flour, salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken cutlet in flour mixture.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange chicken cutlets in the pan and brown, about 3-4 minutes a side. Remove chicken from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
- Pour lemon juice, white wine, and capers into the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the good brown bits. Reduce the liquid by about half. Stir 1 tablespoon butter into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, in another large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic over medium heat. Wilt spinach in hot oil. Season with salt. Stir 1/2 the lemon caper sauce into the spinach.
- Spread remaining olive oil and butter on bread and top with minced garlic. Toast under the broiler, 2-3 minutes. Dunk bread in remaining lemon caper sauce.
- Assemble sandwich by layering chicken with spinach on top. Serve immediately.