Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chicken, Brie and Fig Sandwich (just like Earls, but better)

If you suffer from the same problem as me, when you go to a restaurant you pretty much have to order the same thing every time. Not because there aren't any other good things on the menu, but because you know just how good that one item you like is and it may be a long time before you get to try it again.

My dish of choice at Earl's has been the Chicken, Brie and Fig Sandwich for years now. I literally have not tried another dish at Earl's since I've tried this one.

The other day I was inspired to try and recreate this culinary masterpiece on my own when I saw some Granny Smith's in the fridge. Only having access to one small grocery store for the summer, I had concerns that I wouldn't be able to pull this off. Luckily for me, I wasn't disappointed.

I started with this recipe which laid out the basic elements of the sandwich that I needed. I made two changes to the ingredients list - one for convenience and one for authenticity. Instead of cooking my own chicken, I decided to buy a nice hot roasted chicken from the grocery store. It was a good decision. Secondly, instead of just garlic mayonnaise, I made garlic aioli, using this recipe. Also, another good decision. I ended up baking my apples in tinfoil on the BBQ at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes to get them soft all the way through.

  • roasted chicken breasts
  • garlic aioli
  • fig jam
  • double creamy brie
  • baby spinach
  • ciabatta buns
  • Granny Smith apples
  • cinnamon
  • sugar

One of the complaints I had about the recipe is that it is somewhat vague in terms of time and quantity of ingredients. However, in hindsight, I believe the author did this purposely so that you can add the ingredients the way you like them (ie: thick slabs of oozing brie). Next time, I think I'll cut my apple slices a bit thicker (about 1/8" slices) to help bring them out a bit more as well as add more spinach.

After assembling the sandwiches on my ciabatta-like buns, I rolled them in tinfoil and put them back onto the BBQ for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Upon first bite, I was immediately taken back to that first time at Earl's. The interaction between the fig jam, apples and brie is utterly magical. I was floored that this sandwich could so easily be recreated without compromising a thing. The fact that I can now make it with my own proportions (ie: thicker slabs of oozing brie) in my own kitchen makes me think that I won't be going back to Earl's again anytime soon.

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