Bite into a hearty chicken Parmesan

Leah Eskin

The sandwich in need of housing can’t consult Zillow. Nor will the multiple listing service do. She’s got to pound the pavement of the actual market, in the bakery aisle.

Her dream home should have it all: sturdy construction that can support a crisp chicken cutlet, room for the rambunctious peppers and tomatoes and neat curb appeal. Sliced bread is out of the question. Too many windows, as it were. Her agent suggests she confine her search to rolls.

In today’s hot marketplace, there’s plenty of inventory. The submarine: capacious, if a tad nautical. The hero: similar, though more grandiose. The club roll: compact, but rather exclusive. Ciabatta: overbuilt. Kaiser: bad karma.

The agent saves the best for last: the hoagie. It’s strong, but not tough. Spacious, but not sprawling. Complete with a tasteful, tender-crumb interior. The sandwich moves in immediately and, after a quick toast, closes the deal.

Exuberant Parmesan Sandwich

Prep: 15 minutes

Wait: 2 to 24 hours

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

1 cup buttermilk

Kosher salt

2 chicken cutlets, 4 ounces each

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1 cup yellow bell pepper matchsticks

1/4 cup whole hot cherry peppers (from a jar)

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 hoagie rolls

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Marinate: Whisk together the buttermilk and 11/2 teaspoons salt. Add cutlets. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Dredge: Stir together Parmesan cheese, Panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pull cutlets out of their buttermilk bath and dredge in Parm mix. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Keep handy a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

Brown: In a medium skillet, heat oil and butter over medium. When hot, add garlic. Cook until golden and crisp, 1 minute; scoop out with a slotted spoon. Add cutlets to the pan. Cook until crisp brown outside and tender inside, about 3 minutes per side. Slide cutlets onto the baking sheet, and keep warm in oven.

Soften: Add tomatoes, bell peppers, cherry peppers and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened (but still hold their shape), about 5 minutes. Stir in crisp garlic.

Toast: Open rolls. Cover the bottom faces with mozzarella. Toast in a toaster oven or under a hot boiler until cheese melts, about 4 minutes.

Build: Stack one chicken cutlet on each bun bottom. Top with tomato mixture. Close. Squish. Munch.