A good friend of mine ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day for at least 8 years straight. And, while I love that classic combo as much as any American school kid, I'm in my twenties and peanut butter and jelly is starting to get old.
I'd been craving more interesting (but still convenient and totable) lunches for a while in college when my parents took me to New York City to tour the French Culinary Institute as a prospective student. After a day spent observing culinary students (sidenote: amazing experience), the FCI treated my parents and I to a delightful lunch at L'Ecole, the school's restaurant. One of the many amazing things served was a curried chicken salad sandwich, with avocados. I thought about that meal for years, and the sandwich never left my mind.
I recreated it (quite successfully, if I do say so myself) a few months ago and it seems to be a hit. So, I thought I'd share it with you!
Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 ripe, ready-to-eat, avocado
2 slices of good, whole-grain bread
1 clove of garlic
3/4 cup non-fat (or low-fat) plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
salt & pepper (I used about 1/4 tsp of each)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, if you like it spicy)
a hand full of finely chopped cashews (optional, if you like a bit of crunch)
Place chicken breasts in a pot they fit somewhat snugly in and cover with warm water (cover with about 1" of water). Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer (leave the lid slightly ajar) and cook this way for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Quite frankly, if you mess this step up and the chicken boils for a couple minutes longer than it should, it really isn't the end of the world. Remove the chicken breasts and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and spices together in a medium bowl. Shred the chicken breasts with a fork (or with your fingers) and add to the mix. Add the cashews here, if you're using them. The chicken salad will stay good for 3-4 days.
Toast two slices or your favorite, crusty, bread. Cut one clove of garlic in half and rub (cut side down) the garlic against the warm toast. Place a couple of slices of avocado over the garlic side of the toast and top with the curry chicken salad. Put the other slice of bread on top, cut, and enjoy. Or toss it in a ziploc bag, or wrap it in parchment paper (refrigerate if you're waiting a while to eat it) and pull it out at lunch to make all the other kids (or grad students, or co-workers) jealous.
Makes 2 sandwiches. Enjoy.