Alex Guarnaschelli’s Secret to Picnic-Perfect Chicken Cutlet Sandwiches: ‘It’s Important’

With the warmer weather, a picnic is in order, and what better dish to bring along than Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli’s hearty, crowd-pleasing chicken sandwiches?

The culinary personality has a recipe that she says will result in the tastiest chicken cutlet sandwiches you’ve ever enjoyed. 

Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli
Food Network personality Alex Guarnaschelli | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Sage gives Alex Guarnaschelli’s chicken cutlets an irresistible flavor

In her cookbook Cook with Me, Guarnaschelli explains the layering of flavors that takes place in creating this sandwich. The Chopped judge makes one want to get started on them right away.

“The fun in this dish lies in gathering and making all of the components and then building the tasty sandwiches,” she writes. “Using grassy sage instead of more classic choices like oregano or basil makes the breaded chicken unique, and it melds well with the mayonnaise touched with the two flavors I remember most from my childhood: garlic powder and red wine vinegar.

“When my dad took the bottle of vinegar and the jar of garlic powder out of the kitchen cabinet, he meant business! Most of his salad dressings began and ended there.”

Get the complete recipe, video, and reviews on Food Network’s site.

Guarnaschelli’s secret to excellent chicken cutlet sandwiches

“The other secret to this dish is to make sure the chicken is pounded really thin,” she continued. “If you buy chicken breasts, butterfly them so you begin with pieces that are already half as thick, then place them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them gently with the flat side of a cleaver or a mallet. (You can also ask your butcher to do it for you.)”

The chef also revealed that in addition to the thickness of the chicken, her other tip for transforming these cutlets into an unforgettable chicken dish lies in the bread crumbs you use: “I mix two types of bread crumbs, panko and fresh, so the breading has lots of texture. The mixed bread crumbs also help the breading stick to the chicken.” 

As well as the butterflied thin chicken cutlets, sage leaves, and two kinds of bread crumbs, Guarnaschelli’s recipe also calls for eggs, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, romaine lettuce hearts, lemon juice, rolls, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Lastly, she adds that it’s a good idea to make the chicken the night before you plan on serving because “the breading will adhere better that way.”

Home cooks loved Guarnaschelli’s approach to chicken

Reviewers chimed into Food Network’s site to praise how the chef elevated an everyday dish.

“Delicious!!!! I made these for my family last night and there wasn’t a bite left on their plates. The flavors work so well together. I’ll definitely be making this again… soon,” one home cook said.

Another reviewer reassured anyone nervous about so much sage: “This is a fabulous recipe! I’ll make this sandwich again and again. I was nervous about the very strong smell of the sage, but it was fantastic and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.”

RELATED: Alex Guarnaschelli’s Easy Weeknight Blackened Salmon with Garlicky Kale