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Ah, Nepotism: Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches


February 27, 2012

Could life get any better than this?

When I was young my father would sometimes bring me and my brother Ben with him to work. I don’t really remember why this was the case, as we were a massive pain in the ass (insisting on photocopying our hands and making the warehouse guys give us rides on the forklift…thank you Peggy and Mark for your unending patience), but he did.

As I got older and entered middle school the occasional trips into the office continued. Here my delightful behavior progressed to printing “Remember! Recycle! (Please)!” signs and posting them on all the trash cans, complete with a Microsoft Word generated smiley face. Again…thank you Peggy and Mark for your unending patience and for leaving the signs up so I could gleefully and triumphantly see them “working” on my next visit.

Into high school and college I would sometimes work there  in the summers, often bringing a friend, and finally providing some value (albeit minimal I’m sure) as I counted inventory, organized the “Literature Room” (a closet holding vendor collateral), and perkily answering the phone, “Good! Morning! This! Is! Capco! Energy! Supply! How! May! I! Help! You!” (I was very eager then….everything was said in a massively obnoxious and bubbly manner…though I’m not sure I’m much better now.) I am forced here, yet again, to say thank you Peggy and Mark for letting me race you to the phones only to urgently declare, “Mark! It’s for You!” Line One!”

Being the boss’s daughter definitely had its perks, including a 10a trip to Starbucks where I would order a giant Frappucino with Whip (remember the days when you could do that and still be oh-so-skinny?….damn prepubescent bodies) and a 1p trip to Papa Razzi for lunch. My father and I have a similar love of food and an eerily similar palette, so each time we would both order the Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches….extra dressing on the side, bien sur. Off we would go to pick them up…he would double park, having driven there with his giant knees and likely on the phone the whole time while barking orders at Bob Iacopucci (that’s really his last name….pronounced Yack-Oh-P00-Chee) or some other guy, he’d shove the corporate card into my hands, and in I would trot grabbing a handful of the weird mints they served and flipping my hair while proudly displaying my American Express Gold card that said Tim Malarkey on it and working on the story I would give if ever they questioned my identity…which very disappointingly they never did…since I had so many witty replies ready (none of which included the truth).

I hadn’t actually thought about these sandwiches for years until this afternoon when talking to my Dad. I’m not sure why I suddenly had such a craving, perhaps it was the unexpectedly nice day we had in Seattle, or just missing my Daddy, but suddenly I had to have ’em.

And oh man, were these good. They aren’t *quite* as good as Papa Razzi’s…but they were damn close. Make them on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you want something delicious, easy, and utterly satisfying.

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Oh! So! Good!

Inspired by Papa Razzi in Burlington, MA

Serves 4

4 ciabatta buns

4 cloves garlic, minced in garlic press

Olive oil

Good Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

lemon pepper seasoning

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Romaine, thinly chopped

Caesar Dressing, see below

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ciabatta in half and brush with olive oil. Evenly spread the minced garlic on the 8 halves. Toast about 10 minutes or until bread is slightly brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

    You’re basically making giant croutons here, so don’t hold back.

  2. Toss the chicken in a little olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning and grill until almost cooked through. Finish by turning up the heat slightly and blackening right at the end.
  3. Toss the romaine with enough dressing to generously coat and set aside.
  4. To assemble, slather (yes, you must) the tops and bottom with the dressing, layer on some dressed lettuce, Parmesan shavings, and the chicken.

    Assembling the goodness.

  5. Enjoy with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Caesar Dressing

2 egg yolks (coddled if you care about that kind of thing although generally not necessary if you get really good, fresh eggs)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 TB garlic cloves (more or less pending on your affinity for garlic)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or mashed anchovy
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco® or other hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup good quality olive oil

In a food processor pulse all the ingredients, save the oil, for about 20 seconds or until well blended. Add the oil in a slow stream and blend until emulsified and creamy, about 30-40 seconds.


  1. mark says:

    I’m honored to be part of the blackened chicken caesar salad sanwhich memory. It inspires me to want to make them but would require a few more miles on the treadmill. We may need you & Rachael to come back in December to count some black fittings. Great post!


    • Erina says:

      Thanks Mark! I’ll have to do a post about begging you to take me for rides on your motorcycle! I thought I was just the coolest dang thing riding on the back of the motorcycle of the Brown Sugar Cover Band’s drummer!!

  2. PEGGY PERRY says:

    Good Lord Erina, you bring back so many fond memories. Thank you also for remembering all of those times when you played secretary in the office. You were really cute. I must say you always sounded so professional even though you had a childs voice.
    I absolutely adore your website. Keep it up.

  3. Big Dad says:

    For the record and for those of you visiting Metro Boston in the future the restaurant is Papa Razzi in Burlington. I happened to have eaten their last night( grilled trout with steamed spinach, now that I’m a little older) Erina…I have very fond memories of taking the lunch ride with you to Papa Razzi and watching you dance in and out of the front entrance with true gusto and excitement of the lunch to be. I think I also tended to eat all the bread sticks out of the take out bag before we got back to the office! You are a remarkable young woman and I’m so proud to be your Dad. Love you!

    • Erina says:

      Oh my goodness….you’re right of course! Papa Razzi…not Bertucci’s. Clearly it’s been way too long since I terrorized the office and enjoyed a daddy/daughter lunch. Let’s put that on the list for my next visit!

  4. Daniel says:

    Ahh, ciabatta buns. Yes. For my money it’s hard to find better sandwich makings than a freshly toasted ciabatta bun. I grill them in the summertime to make a lobster roll that’s out of this world (i.e. we’re making those this summer in conjunction with a Crane’s expedition. No discussion) Great ceasar dressing recipe too by the way. One should never be without a good ceasar recipe. And for the love of god, slather that stuff on there. Lest we forget, a salad without the appropriate slathering of dressing is merely a plate/bowl of raw vegetables, and there’s nothing civilized about that. Obnoxious and bubbly… hmmmm, that’s not ringing any bells.

  5. Viaders says:

    Wow Erina, this brings back memories of counting endless nuts and bolts with you while blasting sappy top 40 hits on the radio. good times! The sandwich looks delish…I am really missing cooking/preparing my own food…so these will be high on the list for trying out when we get back to the U.S.
    Miss you!

  6. […] with Caesar Aioli, which I just did a Caesar Dressing for and then pureed a bit longer to thicken up. Would also be delicious served with some melted […]

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