I'll be the first to admit that my daily "lunch" usually consists of a wedge of Gouda and a handful of (oftentimes stale) crackers. Other days it includes a few slices of pie. But every now and then, when I want to feel like an actual grownup, I make a gussied-up sandwich that I may even sit down to eat.
I am a firm believer in keeping plenty of basic ingredients on hand so I don't get into trouble when I need to throw together a spontaneous meal. Having a full stock of necessities definitely helps when it comes to lunch, which can otherwise be the hardest to assemble. This roasted red pepper sandwich is a prime example of what you can do with a few pantry/refrigerator staples in less than 10 minutes.
This "recipe" uses all of my favorites. Jarred roasted red peppers and pesto can make any sandwich (or anything, for that matter) taste better. I like to keep chicken and turkey in the fridge, whether it is leftover from a roast or plain grilled breasts from Trader Joe's. Mozzarella and prosciutto are almost always a given because I can use them for making everything from pizza to a cheese plate. Of course, it's open to plenty of interpretations. Sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and bacon can be used instead of peppers, mozzarella, and prosciutto. If you keep a few of these ingredients in stock, you are guaranteed to have a good meal in a hurry.
Another thing that really makes this sandwich special is heating it up. It's just a tiny extra step, but those extra minutes in a toaster bring it all together in a way that a cold sandwich just can't.
Roasted Red Pepper, Chicken, and Mozzarella Sandwich
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared pesto
Baguette, ciabatta, or foccacia bread, halved horizontally
Sliced cooked chicken
Roasted red peppers, jarred or homemade
Sliced low-moisture mozzarella
Arugula, spinach, or basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Stir together the mayonnaise and pesto. Spread the bottom half of the loaf with the pesto-mayonnaise mixture. Add a layer of chicken, followed by prosciutto, red peppers, mozzarella, and arugula. Season with salt and pepper.
Wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil and toast in a toaster oven or warm oven until cheese is melted. Slice in half crosswise and serve.
- Sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and bacon can be used instead of peppers, mozzarella, and prosciutto.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)