Every year, D Magazine puts out a “Best of Big D” list – it’s basically a “where to find the shiznit” list of anything and everything in Dallas. It was no surprise this year when Empire Baking Company was named Best of Big D Bakery for Bread. Having run full-production bakeries in a past life and having been schooled on more than one occasion by some of the most passionate, tattoo-covered, lovable, foul-mouthed, “bread is life,” under cover of night, master baker beasts, I can tell you, Empire has some killer bread.
So, as you can imagine, when Empire’s blog posted a Back to School Sandwich contest focused on using their bread, I was all over it. The contest ends Friday, August 19th; so, I still have another day to submit more sammies, but this one deserves to be shared even if I don’t win. The rules are: 10 ingredient limit, serve cold/room temp, and make it simple, nice, and tasty. Here’s what I came up with…
Servings: Yours and Only Yours
Time: 10 mins
– 2 Tablespoons Butter (softened)
– 1 Teaspoon Buffalo Hot Sauce
– 2 Slices Empire Baking Company Pane Paisano
– 1 Celery Stalk
– 2 Tablespoons CHUNKY Blue Cheese Dressing
– 3 Slices Bacon (that fourth one can be used as a snack; that’s what I did)
– 4-6 Deli Slices Buffalo Chicken Breast
– 1/2 Cup Baby Spring Mixed Greens
Cook your bacon until it’s crisp, set aside the bacon, and discard the bacon renderings. Or, save the renderings if you know what’s good for you. Don’t wipe out the skillet! Just be patient, my friends. Glorious deliciousness awaits you. Take the skillet off the heat for this next part. Mix the Buffalo sauce and the softened butter together just to combine. Don’t freak out when the vinegar doesn’t play nice with the butter. Just keep stirring around to incorporate most of the sauce. Then, take a butter knife and slather one side of each Pane Paisano slice with the Buffalo butter (I like that – “Buffalo butter”), then place the buttered side down in the skillet where you cooked the bacon. Then, return the skillet to medium-high heat to toast up only that one side of bread. That’s right. I said one side only. You’ll see…
Once the one side is golden brown, remove from the skillet, and place the two slices of bread aside, leaning on one another to cool. This just makes the process go faster. While your two toasted slices are cooling, take your celery stalk, and slice it thinly on the bias. The idea is that you’ll be adding the celery for texture, but it can’t fall out of the sammy. Thus, no dicing.
Once the Pane Paisano slices are cooled, place them toasty side down, and spread the chunky blue cheese dressing onto the soft side of the bread. The softer side will absorb the blue cheesiness, and the chunks of blue cheese will fall into the wonderful crevices and pockets of joy in the bread. If you had toasted both sides, you’d have to smush the crispy bread to spread the blue cheese. See? There you go. One-sided toasting is muy importante for this sammy.
Now, take your thinly sliced celery, and cover one side of the sammy, making sure you are strategically placing the celery so that every bite gets that textural crunch. The blue cheese will act as your glue here so the celery won’t slide off.
Next, layer your Buffalo chicken deli slices, bacon, and baby spring mix. Close up the sammy with the other slice, and enjoy the tangy zing of the Buffalo sauce against that creamy blue cheese and salty, smoky bacon. I can’t wait to turn this bad boy in for the contest… wish me luck!