The Chicken Melt

Makes 2 sandwiches

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Screenshot 2024-05-02 at 5.00.40 PM


  • 2-3 celery ribs
  • 1 small bunch tarragon
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 large granny smith apple
  • 1 lemon


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 slices rye bread (preferably Marble!)


  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese


  • 2 large chicken breasts (1 ¼ lbs)

1. Poach the chicken:

  • Place two boneless skinless chicken breasts in a medium saucepot. Cover with 4 cups water and season with 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a simmer, simmer for 3 minutes, then flip the chicken breasts over, cover the pot and let poach off the heat until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 150, About 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool to room temp.

2. Make the chicken salad:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon ground celery seed, 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard, and the zest of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Finely chop 3 celery stalks and enough tarragon to measure 3-4 tablespoons (about 1 small clamshell of tarragon). Stir into the chicken salad, along with the juice of the whole lemon.
  • Chop the cooled chicken into small pieces and stir in the mayo dressing, working vigorously with a spatula to really break some of the chicken down and incorporate it into the dressing. Keep chilled until ready to make the sandos.

3. Marinate the apples and build:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, thinly slice 1 whole granny smith (in quarters). Add the apple slices to the dressing and a big pinch of salt, toss gently to coat and let sit to marinate while you build the sandos.
  • Thinly slice 4 ounces of white cheddar cheese and ½ white onion (as paper-thin as possible! Use a mandoline if you’ve got one).
  • Lay down the 2 slices of bread on your work surface. Divide the cheese among the two slices. Top each with a handful each of thinly sliced white onion, then divide the marinated apples amongst. Top each with a big scoop of chicken salad, and close with the top piece of bread.
  • Slather the tops of each sando with some unsalted butter. Set, butter side down, in a skillet over medium-low heat. Slather some more butter on the top piece of bread. Cook, until the bread is golden and crisp and the cheese has started melting substantially, 3-4 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook on the second side, 1-2 minutes longer. If the cheese isn’t melting, throw a lid on the skillet to help trap some steam.
  • Transfer to a cutting board, season the outsides with salt, and cut in half before serving.

Filed Under: ,