Super Bowl Sandwiches (Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Heroes with Basil)

For all the lentil soups and beet salads I post in this space, you’d never know I have a weakness for sandwiches. Good sandwiches, with crusty bread, moist filling, and crunchy condiments.

Sandwiches reign around here during all seasons. In the spring we tuck thinly sliced radishes and a creamy feta between bread for a delicate, yet filling sandwich. Summertime brings roasted tomatoes and homemade pesto to garnish our pressed sandwiches, and our favorite snack in autumn is a grilled cheese and fresh apple sandwich.

In the winter though, sandwiches get a little more substantial.

In today’s recipe, the delicate baby greens of summer are replaced with panko and Parmesan-crusted chicken filets, a zesty marinara sauce, fresh basil and melted mozzarella. This ‘Hero’ or Italian-style submarine sandwich is messy, filling, and total comfort food.

If you’re looking for something a little different for Game Day, yet still appealing to the boatload of hungry guys, these Chicken Parmesan Heroes will indeed make you the hero.

Do-Ahead Tips

This hot sandwich is made up of several components that can all be prepared well in advance. In fact, I find that the marinara sauce is even better on the second day. Here’s how it comes together and allows you to step out of the kitchen and actually visit with guests – or watch the Super Bowl, whatever suits you best!

The Bread: Any long loaf will work for the Hero, although a soft, Italian-style suits it best. In the photos I used a sun-dried tomato and basil loaf. Bread can be purchased in advance and stashed in the freezer until a few hours before dinner.

The Sauce: You favorite Marinara (basic tomato) sauce works here. I made my 4-ingredient tomato sauce and simmered it down until it was a little thicker than usual. I also enhanced the sauce a bit with dried oregano and sauteed onion, and as aforementioned, made it a few days in advance.

The Chicken: Typically, Chicken Parmigiana is made by breading and frying the filets in, well, a big greasy vat of oil. It’s totally delicious, but takes a lot of time and isn’t so ‘heart smart’. Instead I used my recipe for Buttermilk Chicken Strips, swapping out the corn flakes for grated Parmesan cheese, and baking them.

The panko-crusted filets can be baked up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

The Toppings: Thick slices of mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves put this sandwich over the edge. Feel free to use other cheeses such as Provolone, Asiago or aged cheddar.

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Chicken Parmesan Heroes
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Recipe type: Main
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Total time:
Serves/Yield: 4-6
A rustic, Italian-style sandwich, with plenty of do-ahead components.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Marinara Sauce
  • 6 Buttermilk Chicken Strips (made with Parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 6-8 thick slices of Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large soft submarine rolls
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to Broil. Have Marinara sauce ready and warm.
  2. Slice submarine rolls in half and place the bottom halves on a baking sheet.
  3. Flash chicken strips in the oven for a few minutes to warm them through. Meanwhile, spoon a generous amount of Marinara sauce onto the bottom of the rolls and sprinkle evenly with grated Parmesan.
  4. Remove chicken from oven and place hot chicken strips on top of the marinara-coated rolls.
  5. Top chicken strips with sliced Mozzarella cheese and place the baking sheet under the broiler. Broil sandwiches just until the cheese melts.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, meanwhile, warm the tops of the submarine buns.
  7. Distribute fresh basil leaves evenly on top of the melted mozzarella and cover them with the tops of the buns.
  8. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the sandwiches diagonally into three or four pieces and serve at once with a stack of napkins.

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Do you have a favorite hot sandwich?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been AimΓ©e's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. This looks ridiculously good. Now if only I could bake a loaf of gluten free french bread that tastes like the original…
    Steph’s last post: We Have A Choice

  2. I’m with you on the sandwiches! One of my favorite foods to eat, and my big boys love them too. This one is drool-worthy for sure.

  3. I love sandwiches! This look delicious. Unfortunately we can’t have dairy with our chicken (we keep kosher)I’ve been wondering do you have suggestions for a non-dairy replacement for the buttermilk, and a non cheese “finisher” for hot sandwiches?

  4. Aimee, this looks so delicious!!! Perfect for the Super Bowl!
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch’s last post: Very Berry Smoothie Recipe for Your Valentine

  5. You have witnessed my deep love for sandwiches first-hand – but asking me to pick a favorite is almost too hard to do! Grilled cheese? Reuben? Tuna melt? Meatball parm? Let’s not forget the Cuban. Can’t we just have a favorite for every day of the week?
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: Hot and Sexy Italian Fish Stew

  6. OOOOOOOO.MMMMMM.GGGGGGGG.
    Bev Weidner’s last post: Baked Bourbon Buffalo Wings

  7. Favorite hot sandwich is still Grilled Cheese. Sometimes there is just nothing more comforting.
    Emily @ Random Recycling’s last post: Carrot Cake Muffins

  8. Delish!!!!
    Dana’s last post: Cottage Hill: Dog Silhouette Pillow

  9. Daniel Andersen says:

    This looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe and the do ahead tips.
    Can’t wait to try making this at home.

    Thanks.

    -Daniel
    Daniel Andersen’s last post: How To Get A Girlfriend

  10. Oh yum, the boys (and girls!) in our house will love this! I’m a sucker for hot sammies too–especially pressed ones. I actually just made Grilled Gruyere Sandwiches with Salami and Cornichon Relish for dinner the other day. (http://gourmetmommy.com/recipes/grilled-gruyere-with-salami-and-cornichon-relish/)
    Lea @ GourmetMommy’s last post: Super Easy Super Bowl

  11. I had planned on Chicken Parmesan for dinner tonight, but this sandwich looks sooo much better!
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Super Bowl Recipes

  12. I am a sandwich person, this is perfect.

  13. I love this hot sandwich! Perfect for game day, but anytime as well!
    Tracy’s last post: Buffalo Chicken Pot Pies

  14. I wish I were at your house for the Super Bowl! That sandwich is stunning, and I bet it tastes simply delicious. We had buffalo chicken dip with cauliflower dippers (like plain old raw cauliflower) for our Super Bowl watching. It was wonderfully tasty.

    As far as hot sandwiches go, I can’t really think of anything we have regularly. When I was a kid, we had hot roast beef and hot turkey sandwiches, but as an adult, it is really rare that I have a hot sandwich.
    Tara’s last post: Executive Leaders Radio

  15. looks so wonderful! Lovely blog:)

  16. This looks really delicious! I hope I can share this to my friends too…
    Ainna’s last post: Parc Vera Hougang

  17. Aimee, how do you get such good-looking basil in the winter? Do you grow it indoors? I have frozen pesto I could add instead.. just curious.

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