by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
My obsession with the dining habits of Claude Monet began in college. I feasted again and again on the few English translations available of the notebooks he kept from his home in Giverny. At a time when my cooking skills were constrained by the size of my dorm room hotplate and my wallet, I would dream about the elaborate lunches Monet held promptly at 11:30 each day for guests like Renoir, Cézanne, and Degas. Some of the local ingredients that were mentioned in the notebooks included capons, chickens, berries, cheeses, and wonderful breads.
It wasn’t long after that I started making what I call Monet’s Favorite Sandwich. I thought: What if he was a sandwich eater and he put some of his favorite ingredients together between sliced bread? Wouldn’t it make the best sandwich in the world?
And it did.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love this sandwich. It has everything. Savory chicken, sweet raspberry preserves, creamy/salty brie, and the yeasty crunch of a baguette. Like Monet himself, this sandwich is kind of sweet and vicious. In the past, when someone asked me for the recipe, I told them to read Monet’s notebooks from Giverny. Now I’m a little sad thinking they may not have done so.
What you need:
1 loaf Napoleon Bread (page 116),
or your favorite baguette, split in half lengthwise
1⁄4 cup raspberry preserves
1⁄2 small roasted chicken, bones removed
and meat sliced or torn into large pieces 4 ounces brie
Fresh parsley leaves (optional)
What to do:
Preheat the broiler.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bottom half of the bread on it. Spread the raspberry preserves over the bread. Top the preserves with the chicken. Cut the brie into chunks or slices and spread across the top of the chicken. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Top with parsley if you like. Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich and cut into four equal pieces.