Sandwich # 30–“In the Queue” Chicken Salad Sandwich

By 300 Sandwiches

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I love big box retailers. Blame my Midwestern roots, but I love the promise of bargain basement prices and offers like “Buy 5, get 6 free!” and wandering through those wide aisles and seeing perfect facing stacks of paper towels and Clorox and Eggo waffles and Corn Flakes all lined on shelves. It’s like being in a sundry-filled fantasyland.

E jokes that he’s never seen me happier than when we went to Bed Bath & Beyond for the first time to pick out bedding. I jumped up and down giddy at the prospect of shopping at the three floor home goods megastore. But I was also shopping there hand in hand with my love, a man that I was looking to share a bed, and eventually, a home with. That was happily ever after for most women I know. And here I was, living it out the quintessential fairy tale romance in 400 thread count sheets.

So imagine how cross eyed with excitement I was when we went to both Ikea and Fairway Market in Red Hook on Sunday, a small break from my Fashion Week duties. Both of these big box stores were so big, they had their own PARKING LOTS! FREE PARKING LOTS! (free parking in New York is like the eighth wonder of the world). E was so proud to park our silver SUV next to all of the other silver SUVs in the lot, while I got a rush from running around those wide aisles with other married or otherwise committed couples pushing around shopping carts full of goods. I was one of THEM.

The only bad part about a big box retailer are the lines. Running around Ikea is a much deeper calorie-burning endeavor than a quick dash to the corner bodega. Plus, we forgot to eat before we left the house. We went to Ikea to get a planter for our mint plants, but there was no “10 items or less” queue in the store. So we stood in line behind college students and young families buying entire furniture sets for dorm rooms and nurseries for a good ten minutes, growing hungrier by the minute. I even had to buy some lemon cookies at the food stand in another section and bring them back to E in line because our blood sugar levels had dropped so low.

After 20 minutes and a manager bringing the line to a standstill because the clerk couldn’t figure out the correct way to credit a customer for her Billy bookcases (don’t act like you’ve never owned a pair of Billys), we bolted–without the planter–to Fairway. There, I saw rotisserie chickens on display in the prepared food section. “Babes, I’ll do chicken salad on croissants,” I suggested. We were famished before we hit the checkout.

When I got home, I carved up the chicken, added horseradish mustard, mayonnaise, celery, onion and pepper, and mixed it up until it was nice and creamy. We chowed down quickly on the sandwiches, grateful to have food in our bellies. “I’m never going to an Ikea on the weekend again,” E told me. “But that Fairway is fantastic. Let’s go again next Sunday.”

1 rotisserie chicken (or roughly 2 lbs worth of meat)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon horseradish mustard
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
4 croissants
4 leaves romaine lettuce

Carve the rotisserie chicken into small bite size pieces. Add in chopped celery and red onion. Spoon in mayonnaise and horseradish mustard (you can use regular horseradish, but then I would only use 1 tablespoon at first, then add in more to your desired spiciness). Squeeze lemon over mixture to add juice (you can add to taste, but juice from one lemon should be about right). Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until all are mixed.

Toast croissants lightly, and add light spread of mayo to each side (it ensures that your salad gets some extra creaminess). Layer on a few sheets of romaine on the flatter side of each cut croissant. Spoon out salad onto bed of lettuce. Sprinkle more pepper if desired. Top with curvier side of croissant top. Serve with chips.

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