Inspired by McDonald’s crispy chicken sandwich, how I discovered it and how I made it into this cheese-topped crispy chicken sandwich is a story worth relating.
One time years ago, Sam and I went shopping for clothes. We woke up late, we needed to be back home by 6.00 p.m. to pick up the laundry so, to save time, I suggested a McDonald’s drive-in for lunch. Yeah, eat in the car to save precious time. Since our house helper went back home to the province, we’re always rushing about madly. House to clean, pots and pans to wash, pets to feed…
Speedy and I ordered double cheeseburgers; Sam ordered a crispy chicken sandwich. Now, that was new to me. I didn’t ask for a bite but I imagined how it would be and what would make it crispy. Earlier today, I made my version. It’s like chicken schnitzel, baked rather than fried and generously topped with slices of cheese. Goodness, it was good. And quite heavy. One sandwich each and Speedy and I were ready for dessert.
This recipe serves two; you can just multiply the ingredients if you’re making sandwiches for more.
- 2 chicken thigh fillets
- celery salt
- cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 egg beaten
- 4 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 slices bread (you can use buns, if you like)
- 1 tomato sliced thinly
- 1 red onion sliced thinly
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves (you can use other lettuce variety)
- 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons honey-Dijon mustard
- cheese slices as much as you like (I used Colby but you can use what you prefer although I suggest a cheese that melts well)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
Take a large piece of cling wrap, lay it on a flat surface (like the kitchen counter), place the chicken fillets on one side, cover with the other half and pound with a mallet until about a quarter of an inch thin.
Discard the cling wrap. Season the chicken with celery salt and cayenne powder.
Make your assembly line (see illustration): Place the flour on a plate, beat the egg in a shallow bowl, put the panko in another shallow bowl.
Add the dried tarragon and parsley to the panko. Sprinkle with celery salt and cayenne powder. Stir.
Dredge the chicken fillets in the flour, dip in the egg then coat with the panko mixture. Make sure that every part of the surface of the fillets are coated with flour, egg and panko.
Lay the breaded chicken fillets on the lined baking tray. Drizzle with the melted butter. Bake at 375F for about seven minutes.
Turn off the oven. Take the tray out. Lay the cheese slices on top of the chicken fillets then return the tray into the oven. The oven is still hot enough to melt the cheese completely.
While the cheese melts, toast the bread.
Lay two toasted bread slices flat, spread with mayo then with mustard. Cover with lettuce leaves, top with the tomato slices and, finally the onion slices.
Take the cheese-topped chicken from the oven. Use a spatula to lift then put them on top of the prepared bottom slices of bread. Cover with the two remaining bread slices, cut into halves (or don’t) and serve at once.