Chicken Sandwiches with Arugula-Walnut Pesto

  • Yield: servings


6-- bone in skin on chicken breast halves
-- Salt and pepper
-- Extra virgin olive oil
For the pesto:
5 1/2cups arugula leaves, packed
10-- peeled garlic cloves
3/4cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra, if necessary)
3tablespoons lemon juice
2/3cup lightly toasted walnuts
3/4cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Arugula Walnut Pesto Vinaigrette:
1cup prepared Arugula Walnut Pesto
3tablespoons red wine vinegar
2tablespoons lemon juice
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch crushed red pepper
-- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
6cups of the shredded, cooked chicken
1cup Arugula Walnut Pesto Vinaigrette
1/4cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2/3cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2cups arugula, packed
-- Salt and pepper to taste
6-- fresh ciabatta sandwich rolls, split
-- Mixed greens, sliced ripe tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion (optional)


Recipe serves 6

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place them in a large stockpot or saucepan. Cover the chicken with cold water by 2 inches and drizzle the water with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the chicken for about 30 minutes, or until just cooked through (juices should run clear when pierced with a knife). Remove the chicken from the water and set on a baking sheet until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat from the bones and shred into bite sized pieces.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the pesto and the vinaigrette.

Prepare the pesto: Place the arugula and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to roughly chop, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream through the feed tube, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon juice and continue to run the food processor until the leaves are pureed. Add the walnuts, cheese, salt, and pepper, and puree about 1 minute more, until the pesto is well blended and smooth. Add more olive oil if the pesto is too thick.

Prepare the pesto vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the pesto, vinegar, and lemon juice. Add the olive oil slowly, whisking until incorporated, and then whisk in the crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the salad: Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the vinaigrette, walnuts, and parmesan; toss to mix. Add the arugula, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to mix.

Preheat the broiler or a griddle. Tear some of the filling out from the top halves of the ciabatta rolls so that they are slightly hollowed out with about 3/4- inch thick border remaining. Lightly toast both sides of the ciabatta rolls, cut sides-up. Spread a thin layer of the remaining pesto onto the cut sides of both halves of the rolls. Place a single layer of mixed greens on the bottom halves of the rolls (optional) and then divide the pesto chicken among the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with tomato slices and red onion (optional). Place the top halves of the rolls on the sandwiches, cut in half, and serve (or wrap for later!)