You can tell by recent posts that I have been doing a lot of entertaining lately. I love the whole process of cooking for others: hunting high and low for new recipes; creating a menu that works; the shopping and the preparing. Last week, I was helping with a cocktail party, when we received a sudden influx of late RSVPs, and I started to panic that we wouldn't have enough food. There is no doubt that this is my one great fear of entertaining, so I decided to whip up some cocktail chicken sandwiches to supplement the other offerings.
I have been making this sandwich recipe for more than 20 years, and people always comment on how good they are. I think it is the unexpected crunch of the celery and the sweetness of the sultanas. My best tip for good sandwiches is to keep the sandwiches covered with a damp teatowel while you are assembling the platters so they don't dry out. There is also no need to butter bread.
1kg chicken breast fillets
1/4 bunch celery, chopped thinly
1 bunch green onions, white chopped thinly, greens discarded
150g slivered almonds, toasted
sandwich bread (white always feels indulgent and naughty - perfect for a party)
Spread chicken out in a baking tin, and pour over the buttermilk. Cover with foil and bake at 180C until chicken is cooked through, 30-40 mins. Allow chicken to cool in the tin, then chop it into 2cm cubes. (If you are that way inclined, save the chicken juice/buttermilk in the tin, and freeze it for later use in a soup.)
Put all ingredients in a bowl, and stir in mayonnaise, pepper and salt to taste. Be quite generous with the mayonnaise so the filling is lovely and moist. If you can, leave this mixture in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.
Fill the sandwiches generously, then slice off the crusts and slice each sandwich into thirds to make ribbon sandwiches. An electric knife is great for this as it will cut through the sandwiches without dragging on the bread or the filling.