I have a new food love in my life: take and bake baguettes. Have you seen them in your grocery store? They’re usually hidden on the bottom shelf in the deli or bakery section, below the baked breads.
Cheap, pale and often overlooked, this is one of the best culinary secrets in the grocery.
My passion for fresh-out-of-the-oven baguettes started with my summer-long residency in Paris, where you could turn a corner and smell perfectly baked breads beckoning you into a shop. Every morning, one of us would stroll a few doors down from our apartment and purchase a hot, freshly baked baguette to munch on for the rest of the day.
We’d smear it with softened butter and jam for breakfast, slice it for midday sandwiches, and break it off and dip it in herbs and oils or pair it with cheese before dinner. We quickly learned that one was not enough, so we’d buy two or three depending on the day.
Alas, I don’t have a bakery around the corner here in my hometown. But ever since I found the take and bake baguettes and club sandwich rolls at the local grocery, I’ve been elated. Almost half the price of prebaked artisan baguettes, these delicious breads can’t be beat for home-baked flavor and texture.
Today’s recipe combines the take and bake roll with chicken, fresh mozzarella and intense pesto to create an amazing oven-fresh baked sandwich. If you can’t find take and bake rolls, then a regular baked sandwich roll works well. Just wrap the sandwich completely in foil, so as to not overbake the roll. Enjoy!
Chicken “Caprese” Sub
1 unbaked club sandwich roll or ⅓ unbaked baguette
4 tsp. prepared pesto
⅓ lb. grilled skinless, boneless chicken breast strips (see note)
1 ounce thinly sliced fresh, part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 slices fresh tomato
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice roll in half and spread 2 teaspoons pesto on each half.
Top one side with chicken, cheese, tomato and remaining roll half.
Bake in preheated oven on foil-lined pan 8 to 10 minutes, until heated through (cheese is melted and roll is golden brown). Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving (may be multiplied as needed).
Note: For grilled chicken, use leftovers, or chicken purchased in the deli or refrigerated sandwich section, or whole grilled chicken breast halves purchased from the ready-to-eat section of the grocery and sliced.
Each serving has about 573 calories, 19 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 144 milligrams cholesterol, 60 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 768 milligrams sodium.