This is our attempt at recreating a sandwich enjoyed many years ago in an unassuming little French café on Bute Street in London. It was, in all probability, made with home-made bread and fresh mayonnaise, but we think our version holds its own nicely with Hellmann’s and the ever-ready frozen baguette.
If you are using leftover cooked chicken, about a handful will probably suffice. Otherwise, we’ve included instructions below for poaching the chicken breast. We make this in the morning, however if you’re likely to be short of time, make the filling the night before and simply bake your frozen baguette first thing.
|1 tsp||olive oil|
|3 (at least)||rashers of smoked streaky bacon|
|½||avocado (very ripe)|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6 and remove the baguette from the freezer. Fill a pan with salted water and put a lid on to bring to the boil.
Put a frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the bacon and fry until it’s just starting to go crispy. Turn the heat off and leave the bacon to cool before patting dry with kitchen paper. Then, using a pair of kitchen scissors, snip into small bitesized pieces and pop in a mixing bowl.
By now, the oven should be hot. Put in the baguette and bake according to the packet instructions, usually about 8-12 minutes. The pan of water should also be bubbling - turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, and add the chicken breast to the liquid. Leave to poach for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, take your avocado half and, using a teaspoon, scoop out the lovely flesh, and add to the mixing bowl. Squeeze over a little lemon juice for now to stop it going brown.
If your baguette is looking golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the side.
Remove the chicken breast from the water after 15 minutes. If you’re worried it feels a bit too floppy, slice it open in the thickest part and look to check it’s not pink. If it needs a little more time, return to the hot water and put a lid on the pan. Don’t put the heat back on otherwise the chicken will go too tough. Simply leave it in the hot water for 4 or 5 more minutes and all will be well.
When the chicken is cooked, leave to cool (or run under the cold tap and pat dry using kitchen paper if you’re in a hurry) before slicing thinly and adding to the mixing bowl. Add some freshly ground black pepper, the spoonful of mayonnaise and another generous squeeze of lemon before giving everything a good stir. Taste to check the seasoning before spreading inside your baguette. Pack tightly in foil.
If you’re anywhere near as disorganised as us in life and find yourself lumbered with six packets of chicken breast going off the next: day (who can resist a three-for-two?), try poaching the lot in a pan of simmering water and keeping it in the fridge over the next few days for use in sandwiches and salads.