My Chef-Husband Taught Me How to Make the Best-Ever Club Sandwich and My Lunches Are Forever Changed

Chef Luke Venner's Chicken Club

I love a good club sandwich. Single, double, triple. Stacked on sliced bread or wrapped up burrito style. With three types of meat or just one. With cheese or without. A good club is one of life's great sandwiches. Right up there with Cubans, tuna melts and BLTs in my eyes. Although until recently, I didn't know the secret to making the best-ever chicken club involved ramen seasoning.

That's right. It turns out the same seasoning blend that creates slurp-worthy ramen broth is the secret to moist, flavor-packed chicken that's ideal for club sandwiches. Or at least it is according to my husband Luke, who happens to be a chef.

"You're seriously poaching chicken in ramen seasoning?" I asked him, bewildered, when he said he was making chicken clubs for lunch last week.

"Just you wait and see, Kel," he replied. And so I did.

Related: My Chef-Husband Made Me His Marry Me Potatoes and I Would Definitely Say 'I Do' All Over Again

Ingredients for My Chef Husband's Double-Decker Chicken Club Sandwich

<em>The secret spice</em><p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
The secret spice

Kelli Acciardo Venner

Ramen seasoning is clearly the ingredient star of this recipe. Luke used Jacobsen Salt Co.'s Ramen Seasoning, which we had at home, but you can use any ramen spice mix you have lying around or rip open that bag of instant ramen that's probably in the back of your pantry and use the seasoning packet. I had no idea the least used spice in our cabinet would be so crucial for this recipe, but what a game-changer it was.

In addition to the umami-bomb blend of ramen seasoning, you'll need two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thick-cut bacon, loose-leaf lettuce (think little gem or curly red), an avocado, a ripe beefsteak tomato (or an heirloom yellow like Luke opted for), red onion, mayo and bread. Luke prefers sturdy sourdough or a buttermilk whole wheat for this sandwich but seeded, gluten-free or even good ol' white bread will do.

Chips. You'll also need chips because tearing into a double-decker club deserves a salty crunchy side of chips with every bite. Go for something classic, like Cape Cod, or if you really want to step up your game, try Luke's favorite: Chef José Andrés' Extra Virgin Olive Oil Chips, which he piled on top of our clubs for easy access.

Related: We Ranked the 12 Best Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

Chips on top, not on the side, always<p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
Chips on top, not on the side, always

Kelli Acciardo Venner

Related: The Best Way to Make Nachos, According to my Chef-Husband

How to Make Chef Luke's Double-Decker Chicken Club Sandwich

The first thing Luke does is get to work on this ramen-seasoned chicken. He places a large pot over high heat and fills it with chicken stock. Then he adds a few hefty shakes of the ramen seasoning and sets that to boil. Once rolling, he submerges two chicken breasts and reduces the heat to low to cook for 30 minutes or so. (Note: The combo of chicken stock and ramen seasoning really amps up the flavor of the chicken, but you can also poach the chicken in water flavored with the ramen seasoning if you don't want to go the chicken broth route.)

While his chicken is poaching away, Luke gets to work on the bacon. He likes to spread out a few strips on a baking sheet, on top of a rack, with a Silpat liner underneath so it crisps up on all sides. This produces "perfect" bacon strips in my husband's opinion and I have to agree.

Crisped-to-perfection bacon<p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
Crisped-to-perfection bacon

Kelli Acciardo Venner

He usually broils the slices in the oven on low or bakes them at 400°F until they're as crispy as you like—or your wife likes since I make him keep mine in longer than his.

While the bacon is doing its thing, he starts slicing everything else. The hardest part of making this sandwich is prepping all the veggies, then it's simply a matter of assemblage after that.

He cuts the tomatoes into inch-thick rounds, slices the red onions, gets the lettuce leaves ready to go and halves the avocados into buttery green fans for the first layer of the club.

Once the chicken is fully cooked (you can tell it's nearly ready when white foam starts to float to the surface), he removes the breasts to cool and pops a few slices of bread into a pan of ghee waiting nearby.

This is a pro move I learned when he made me his best-ever BLT. Bread, buns, name it, is better toasted in a pan of melted clarified butter. Not toasted dry on an oven rack like I was accustomed to doing (wrong) for all those years.

Toasting bread in ghee<p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
Toasting bread in ghee

Kelli Acciardo Venner

Once the slices are golden brown, Luke takes them off the heat and smears a bit of mayo on top. Then he gets to building the club sandwich. Although I suppose you can layer as you like, his order goes as follows: bacon on the bottom, then the slices of ramen-poached chicken, followed by another slice of bread and more mayo.

After that, it's avocado, tomato, red onion and finally, to finish, a petite pile of loose-leaf lettuce before he cuts the whole shebang into quarters and plates them with a mountain of chips on top.

Chef Luke's double-decker chicken club<p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
Chef Luke's double-decker chicken club

Kelli Acciardo Venner

Of course, he secures the quarters with a few adorable toothpicks for presentation purposes, which I now believe is the only way one can really eat a club. Bonus points if yours happen to be gold pearl cocktail toothpicks like the ones he procured from some chef-y drawer in our kitchen. A fancy club calls for fancy toothpicks, after all.

My Honest Thoughts on My Chef-Husband's Chicken Club Sandwich

I've never had a club sandwich quite like this. And I'll never go back to buying dry, pre-cooked chicken breasts for clubs, now that I know the magic that occurs when you poach your own in a fragrant ramen bath.

This chicken was moist, tender, succulent, insanely soft and perfectly seasoned, thanks to the garlic-ginger-coriander-chili-white pepper ramen blend he used. This made all the difference. And honestly, so did the chips on top.

Paired with a glass of chilled Chablis, it was the perfect lunch. One I haven't stopped thinking about since we had it and one I will probably have to recreate myself soon—now that I know the secrets to a superior club.

A chef-level chicken club<p>Kelli Acciardo Venner</p>
A chef-level chicken club

Kelli Acciardo Venner

Chef Luke's Best Chicken Club Sandwich Tips

1. Always use the finest ingredients. The ripest tomatoes. High-quality mayo. Fresh bread. Verdant, look-alive lettuce, not sog city leaves. Clubs are all about the ingredients and if one is off, the whole thing is off.

2. Keep your slices consistent. Luke is big on cutting things the same way, the same size, for uniformity's sake.

3. Clean as you work. This is the part I still get wrong, even after eight years together. He swears everything tastes better when you have a tidy kitchen in the background. I never mind "a beautiful mess" but this is his third tip nontheless.

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