I guess I’m keeping with the Michael theme here as this is one of his favorite sandwiches. The story behind it is kind of funny. We were in Phoenix, Arizona when we went to Einstein’s Bros. Bagels for the first time. We ordered a chicken panini sandwich that we fell in love with. At the time we were only visiting Arizona because we were actually living in Loma Linda, California. Unfortunately for us the nearest Einstein’s weren’t exactly “near” at that time. There was one on the way to San Diego and there was one in Phoenix. And yes we quickly educated ourselves to ensure that we knew where to find most of their locations. 🙂
So basically, the story is predictable. The bagel shop was too far away for us to get our lovely panini anytime we wanted so I tried making it at home. Mike was super pleased with how this sandwich turned out and in fact, pretty much anyone that has had it loves it. I combine apple cider vinegar, sugar, and olive oil to cook the chicken in which leaves the chicken juicy and sweet. There’s also a slight spice to the sandwich due to the pepperoni and pesto. The spinach and pimentos add crunch and more flavor while the cheese binds it all together. The “funny” part of this story is that once we finally went back to Einstein’s and ordered our beloved sandwich we realized that my recipe really doesn’t taste anything like it. Hahaha. Yeah, but I’m serious. Don’t get me wrong, we still LOVE Einstein’s, we love everything we’ve tried on the menu including our good ol’ chicken panini, (which we still order) but they are really very different. In a way it’s good because we can have our sandwich for dinner one night and order a sandwich for lunch two days later at Einstein’s and not be redundant. 🙂
- 3 chicken breasts, cubed or sliced in strips
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 4 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half
- 16 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 24 slices pepperoni (beef or turkey) This is your preference, obviously. I buy turkey pepperoni and they tend to be pretty small so 6 typically fit on one sandwich without overlap
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 4 oz jar pimentos
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet. Over medium heat add chicken & apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle sugar and Italian seasoning over chicken. Cook until chicken is done and some liquid has evaporated.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of pesto on both sides of each ciabatta roll.
- Layer fresh spinach, 6 pepperoni slices, chicken, mozzarella and pimentos on bottom half of each sandwich.
- Put the four bottom halves of the sandwiches (now stacked with goodies) into the oven and bake until the cheese melts. Add the top halves to each sandwich and cook for an additional five minutes.
- Serve with your favorite sandwich sides or a pickle, chips & potato salad just like at Einstein’s 🙂
Notes – Serves 4