This recipe comes from the June edition of Food and Wine magazine which credits it as coming from Bill or Beak in London. I chose it for our lunch today, knowing ahead of time it was quite a bit of work for a sandwich, but, after tasting this juicy composition, I think it’s well worth the effort. The sandwich is packed with flavor. There is sweetness in the brioche, the romaine lettuce, the chicken and the sauce, and then there are the salty little caper explosions. Now…there were a few things I didn’t do, because I wanted to tone the sandwich down. I did not make the croutons and I didn’t add the anchovies. I sprinkled the capers on the sauce once I drizzled it over the chicken. I did, however, serve it with a glass of 2012, Clos Des Lunes, Grand Vin Blanc Bordeaux. Enjoy!
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus 2 lemons, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced, plus 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (2 1/2 lbs.)
1 slice of white sandwich bread, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
5 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
Salt and pepper
8 romaine lettuce leaves
4 brioche buns, split and toasted
2 Tbsp. large capers, rinsed
In a large bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the lemon juice, rosemary and minced garlic. Add the chicken thighs, turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the head of garlic in foil, then set on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Arrange the lemon halves cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes more. In a small bowl, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spread on the baking sheet; bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let the garlic and lemon halves and croutons cool for 5 minutes.
To make the dressing, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl and mash until smooth. Squeeze the flesh from the roasted lemons into the bowl and add any juices from the baking sheet. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, the crème fraiche, cheese and anchovies and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Light a grill or heat a grill pan over moderately high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and grill, turning once, until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.
To serve, arrange 2 romaine leaves on the bottom half of each toasted bun. Top each with 2 chicken thighs. Spoon the dressing generously over the chicken and then sprinkle the croutons and capers on top. Close the sandwiches and serve immediately with more dressing on the side.
Note: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.