Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, Caponata, and Pesto Sandwich

By • September 7, 2014 18 Comments

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Author Notes: This sandwich is substantial, an entire meal all in one sandwich. I used chicken tenders that I fried with a Parmesan panko crust and my family recipe for caponata (for this sandwich I used the caponata as a condiment). I slathered good bread with pesto and grilled it. The sum of all these parts is delicious. Enjoy! You can make your own caponata like I did or buy it already prepared.sdebrango


Makes 2 large sandwiches


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano or Romano, divided
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus a little more if needed for the pesto, and more for coating the pan generously
  • 6 chicken tenders or 3 thin chicken cutlets
  • 1 cup panko
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 short baguette or 2 crusty sandwich rolls
  1. If using, make the caponata below, then heat the oven to 200° F degrees. Add the basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and 1/4 cup cheese to the food processor and pulse until it's a fine grind. With the processor on, add the olive oil through the feeding tube and, once emulsified, stop the processor, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Coat a skillet with a generous amount of olive oil and heat over a medium-high flame. Mix 1 cup of Parmigiano and the panko together, place in a shallow bowl (or a ziplock bag), and season with salt and pepper. Beat your eggs. Dip the chicken first in the egg and then in the panko-cheese mixture. Fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. (To make sure the chicken is cooked through, you can cut into the thickest part of one and peek -- the flesh should be white and firm and the juices should run clear.) When done, remove to cooling rack set over a sheet pan, and place in the 200° F oven so they will stay warm.
  3. Heat the broiler, spread the pesto on both sides of the bread that has been sliced in half. Place under the broiler until it becomes lightly browned, only about a minute. Or, alternately, you can use a skillet or grill pan.
  4. Spread caponata on the grilled bread, lay the chicken on top of the caponata, and enjoy!


  • 4 Italian eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 2 tender inner stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed, or 1 cup canned crushed tomato
  • 4 Peppadew peppers, chopped (if you do not have these, use more of the red bell pepper)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup kalamata or green olives (I use a little of each), pitted and roughly chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Up to 2 teaspoons sugar (add 1 teaspoon, taste, and add another if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Clean the eggplant, cut the tops off, and cut them in half lengthwise. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, brush a little olive oil, place your eggplant cut side down, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite-size pieces.
  2. Set a fry pan over medium-high flame, coat the bottom with olive oil, add your chopped onion, and cook until translucent. Add the chopped celery and red bell pepper, and continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic and cook for a minute or so. Don't let the garlic brown. Add your eggplant, tomato, Peppadews, capers, olives, crushed red pepper, sugar, and vinegar, and continue cooking until the mixture is thick. The eggplant will break down but that's okay. This will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

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