hearty BLT sandwiches with grilled chicken, butter lettuce, juicy tomatoes, bacon, and creamy romesco sauce
yield: 4 sandwiches
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the tomatoes in a small amount of oil, season them with salt, and roast for about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, soak the dried ancho chile peppers for 30 minutes. Drain the peppers and roughly chop them. In a large sauté pan, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the dried chile peppers, red pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender and slightly charred, about 12 minutes. Let this mixture cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with a small amount of olive oil. Add the cubed bread and toast for a few minutes until golden, but still soft on the inside.
First, add the pepper mixture to a food processor and pulse until chopped. Next, add the tomatoes, hazelnuts, pistachios, parsley, and toasted bread. Process the mixture and add in the red wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle in more olive oil as needed (you want the consistency to be thick and spreadable). Taste the romesco and adjust the salt if needed.
Lay the slices of bacon flat onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350°F oven until crispy, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the grill over high heat. Coat the chicken breasts in safflower oil, a little salt, and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. Grill the chicken breasts, about 5-6 minutes per side, or until fully cooked through. Let both the bacon and the chicken cool slightly before assembling the sandwiches.
Break the bacon into smaller pieces and chop the chicken breasts. Combine both in a large mixing bowl and add enough romesco sauce to coat the mixture very well. Add the tablespoon of chives.
Meanwhile, toast each slice of bread in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Remove the bread from the pan. Spread a light coating of mayo onto both sides of each slice of bread. Spread the romesco sauce on both sides on top of the mayo. Place two pieces of butter lettuce onto 4 slices of bread. Top the lettuce with 2 slices of tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with the flaky sea salt. Mound the chicken mixture on top of the tomato slices. Garnish with chives and pea shoots (if using). Close the sandwiches and dig in.