Best intentions

Sometimes, a sandwich made of ham and cheese just won't do. There's nothing worse than unwrapping a soggy sandwich, one that was made with best intentions at the beginning of the day only to find that it has seeped its juices into the bread and made inedible. Some sandwiches are made to be devoured immediately, and this is one of them.

Hot sandwiches are a bit of a specialty in my house. Whether it's as basic as grilled cheese or a top of the line steak sandwich, when you serve it hot off the griddle, it takes sandwiches to the next level. Cold sandwiches seem a sad excuse for a dinner, but hot ones seem perfectly acceptable.

I made this Nigel Slater sandwich Saturday night after a hangover had pursued me most of the day. The combination of a hard work week, a perfectly prepared Gimlet, and a bottle of wine with my husband over a Friday night dinner proved a little too intoxicating.

When it came to Saturday night, a sandwich was about all I could muster. Just because you don't have the energy for a full blown dinner doesn't mean you can't pull something deliciously tasty together.

Mr. Slater is somewhat of an expert when it comes to stuffing great ingredients between two lowly pieces of bread. This spiced Indian chicken baguette involves a few more moments than slapping a sorry bit of ham and cheese between bread, but I can't emphasize how gratifying it is. The combination of hot, spicy and crispy chicken with the mayo and toasted baguette is something to behold. A cold beer or a salted mint lassi are good to have within easy reach, especially if you decide not to de-seed the red chilli as I did.

Spiced Indian Chicken Baguette
Adapted from Nigel Slater's Real Food by Nigel Slater

Makes 2 large sandwiches

8 large free range chicken wings
groundnut or olive oil for frying
2 small, hot red chillies, seeded and finely chopped (or not- your choice!)
3 thin spring onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste
a knifepoint of ground turmeric
2 small crusty baguettes
a little sugar
juice of one lemon
mayonnaise, about 4 heaped tablespoons

Salt and pepper the chicken wings. Head enough oil to cover the bottom of a shallow pan and cook the wings on each side until they have colored a little, about a minute or so on each side. Turn down the heat and cover and cook for about thirty minutes until they are cooked through.

Remove the chicken wings from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towel. Let them cool and then remove the meat from the bones.

Meanwhile, crush the chopped chillies, garlic, spring onions and turmeric with a few drops of the oil in a pestle and mortar. Split the bread in half and toast on the cut sides in a grill pan or under your broiler or grill. Heat your pan back up and cook the spice paste for a minute or two, being careful not to burn it. Put the chicken back into the pan and stir it until it's coated in the spice paste. Season it with a little more salt and a pinch of sugar and then add the juice of the lemon.

When it's all ready to go, cover the toasted bread with the mayo and pile the hot chicken onto the baguette. Sandwich the bread together, serving it with a little wedge of lime if desired.

Enjoy immediately.

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