Man, it's no wonder this sandwich is the most popular one served at Rosa Mexicano on Seventh Street NW downtown. With layers of meat, cheese and vegetables, each bite delivers a creamy, crunchy, mildly spicy paycheck that your mouth's happy to cash.
Chef James Muir walked us through the sandwich's assembly, as you can see in the photos above. Keep things neatly stacked, pressing down as you pile on the ingredients. A panini maker or two heavy pans work equally well to fuse the flavors.
Muir serves it at the restaurant with pickled onion and sweet potato fries. We found it to be so filling that if it's served with sides, a half-sandwich might be all you can handle.
Servings: 4 - 8
- 4 slices bacon, cut in half to form 8 short pieces
- 2 5- to 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle adobo sauce (from a can of adobo chili peppers)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise (do not use nonfat)
- 4 ciabatta rolls, about 6 by 4 1/2 inches, or 4 similiarly sized sections from a long ciabatta loaf
- 1/2 cup nonfat refried beans, such as Amy's brand
- 2 thin slices ham, cut in quarters to form 8 pieces
- 4 ounces shredded or thinly sliced Chihuahua cheese (may substitute sliced muenster cheese; see TIP)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced or coarsely chopped white onion
- 2 pickled jalapeño peppers, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
Heat a nonstick grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp; transfer to drain on paper towels.
While the bacon is cooking, cut each piece of chicken horizontally to form 2 equal portions, for a total of 4; place between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
Wipe the excess fat from the grill pan or griddle, add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on 1 side until lightly browned, then turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, combine the chipotle adobo sauce, sour cream and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
Cut the ciabatta rolls or bread in half lengthwise. Line them up on a large cutting board or work surface covered with wax paper. Spread the chipotle mixture on the cut sides of the bottom halves of the ciabatta; spread the refried beans in a thin layer on the cut sides of the top halves. Cut the chicken into pieces as necessary to cover the chipotle spread. Layer the ham, crisped bacon and cheese, pressing down as you go. Scatter the onion and jalapeno pepper slices on the cheese, and complete the sandwiches with the top halves of the ciabatta.
If necessary, spray the same grill pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and heat over medium to medium-low heat. Add as many sandwiches as will fit, bottom side down, weighing them down in the pan or griddle with a heavy cast-iron skillet or a plate with heavy cans on top. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and crisp. Turn the sandwiches over and cook about 2 minutes on the second side. Transfer the sandwiches to the cutting board or work surface and open them between the chicken and ham layers. Add several slices of avocado and sprinkle lightly with salt. Re-close the sandwiches. Invert to right side up and cut in half, pressing down firmly. Serve warm.
Adapted from "Rosa's New Mexican Table," by Roberto Santibanez (Artisan, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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