Roasted Chicken & Italian Salami Sandwich on Rosemary & Dried Cherry Focaccia w/ Basil-Avocado Spread

Are you looking for something fun, fabulous and unique for a special lunch, brunch or picnic coming up? ………………

Have you thought of “sandwiches in the round”? I’ve been making sandwiches like this one for years for celebration events and parties. I’ve made the focaccia rounds in varying sizes from small to medium to very large. They can be prepared ahead and warmed slightly before serving, making them simple and perfect for group get-togethers. These round meals-in-one look quite festive when cut in wedges and plated on a pretty platter – they always seem to bring rave reviews!

I shared yesterday that I came up with this particular sandwich for a picnic dinner we enjoyed last week with my son, Nick and daughter-in-law, Lindsay. After work one evening, we biked several miles on our local greenway and chose a perfect spot along the lazy winding river for our delicious dinner. We had worked up hearty appetites and this focaccia sandwich really “hit the spot”!

The dried, sweet cherries in the savory, toasted pecan-topped rosemary bread made a perfect pairing with the tender roasted chicken, creamy sliced cheese and salty, spicy Italian salami. I used a bit of my Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette as a sandwich spread which added a lovely layer of intriguing green. We liked the sandwich so much that I’ve made it several times since. I made a huge one today (in a deep-dish pizza pan) as a thank you and special lunch treat for my husband’s co-workers.

P.S. If you’re making this for a special party or brunch, much of the work can be done way ahead; the focaccia can be baked several weeks ahead (it freezes beautifully), the spread can be made 4-5 day in advance (it keeps perfectly for up to a week!) and see my note** below about the chicken. So all you have to do is pick up some salami and sliced cheese and throw the whole thing together at the last minute – easy peasy!

Roasted Chicken & Italian Salami Sandwich on Rosemary & Dried Cherry Focaccia w/ Basil-Avocado Spread

Ingredients:
1 round Focaccia w/ Dried Cherries, Rosemary and Toasted Pecans
3 tablespoons Avocado-Basil Vinagrette*, or good quality mayo
8-10 ounces roasted chicken breast, torn into bite-size pieces**
4 ounces Italian salami, thinly sliced
4 ounces Colby-Jack or Fontina cheese, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 300˚F. Slice focaccia horizontally to form a top and a bottom half. Spread both cut surfaces with Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette or mayo.

2. Layer cheese, chicken breast and Italian Salami on bottom half of focaccia. Cover with top half and wrap in foil. Place in pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until warm and cheese is beginning to melt.  Remove focaccia from oven and let rest for a few minutes then slice into wedges and serve.

Notes:
~ *When I make the Avocado-Basil Vinaigrette for a sandwich like this, I use a bit less of the orange juice to keep it a little thicker and more like a “spread” or a “dip” consistency.

~ **I used my Roasted Chicken Breasts w/ Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary for this sandwich, but you could also use a purchased rotisserie chicken. I discovered, quite by accident, something wonderful about my Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Chicken; after roasting a panful a few weeks ago, I asked my husband to put the leftovers in the refrigerator in our garage. He though I said to put them in the freezer and when I went to look for the chicken  breasts, they were frozen solid. I thawed one out to see if it would still be good and it was PERFECT: moist, delicious, as if I had just roasted it! So now, I keep a stash in the freezer and take one or two out at a time as I need them for pizzas, sandwiches, soups, etc. I love “accidents” like this, that turn out to be so helpful!



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