chicken, brie & fig sandwich

One of my favourite sandwiches is the chicken, brie and fig sandwich at the Earls chain of restaurants.  But the few times I’ve had it at the Earls in Regina have not been as good as I remember when I used to have it in Vancouver.  I figured I could do better.  Grilled chicken breast, melty brie, roasted garlic mayo, fig ‘jam’ and some baby spinach all sandwiched inside a toasted ciabatta bun.  It turned out SO GOOD.

This makes 2 sandwiches.

2 chicken breasts  /  2 ciabatta buns  /  2 handfuls of baby spinach  /  ~6 slices of brie cheese (I am obsessed with brie so I cut some pretty fat slices)  /  1/4 cup water  /  1/4 cup granulated sugar  /  6 dried mission figs  /  1 head of garlic  /  avocado or olive oil  /  2 – 3 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnaise  /  salt and pepper

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First, make the roasted garlic mayo and the fig ‘jam’.  If you can find store-bought fig jam, then no need to make your own.  I clearly could not find any but after a quick google for substituting fig jam, I found out you can make a quick ‘jam’ by using dried figs and it turned out great!  So for the mayo, slice off just the very top of your garlic head and place on a large square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle over some oil, season with salt and pepper and wrap it up tightly in the foil.  Roast in a 400F oven for about 40 minutes.  You know it’s done when you can easily slide a fork into the garlic cloves.  Set aside to cool and make the fig jam.

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, throw in the figs, sugar and water and just let it gently simmer for 5-7 minutes.  The sugar-water should turn kinda syrupy.  Remove from heat and using a hand blender, blend until smooth.  (I tried to use my regular blender but since it’s such a small quantity, it didn’t really work.  I’m not sure a food processor would either… If you don’t have a hand blender, I’d suggest simply making a bigger batch by doubling or tripling the amount of water, sugar and figs and saving some for later.)

After the garlic has cooled down a bit, smush out the garlic cloves with your fingers and mash them together with the mayonnaise using a fork and that’s that.

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Next, heat up a large grill pan (I used a cast iron grill) or skillet over medium heat.  Lightly grease with a bit of olive oil spray or a small drizzle of oil.  Using a sharp knife, butterfly your chicken breasts so it will cook evenly.  Season with salt and pepper and place on the grill.  I actually hate cooking chicken because I’m always worried that it’s undercooked so I’m not going to give you any cooking times for this.  I’ll just say, grill on both sides until the chicken is completely cooked through (I always just cut into the chicken to check!)  Top the chicken with the brie and let it just melt down a bit. In the meantime, slice up your ciabatta buns and toast under your broiler.

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Finally, assemble!  Spread the bottom slice of ciabatta with some fig jam and the top slice with the roasted garlic mayo.  Stack the spinach and chicken with the brie in the middle.  If you want to make it pretty, cut on the diagonal and that’s it!  Rock says it’s WAY better than the sandwich at Earls but he likes to flatter me.  Enjoy!

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