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.
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.
|Chicken Parmesan Heroes||
- 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
- Preheat oven to Broil. Have Marinara sauce ready and warm.
- Slice submarine rolls in half and place the bottom halves on a baking sheet.
- 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.
- Remove chicken from oven and place hot chicken strips on top of the marinara-coated rolls.
- Top chicken strips with sliced Mozzarella cheese and place the baking sheet under the broiler. Broil sandwiches just until the cheese melts.
- Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, meanwhile, warm the tops of the submarine buns.
- Distribute fresh basil leaves evenly on top of the melted mozzarella and cover them with the tops of the buns.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the sandwiches diagonally into three or four pieces and serve at once with a stack of napkins.
Do you have a favorite hot sandwich?