Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kitchen Klutz: Love that Chicken Vera Cruz!

Photo by Joe Maniscalco

Story by Michèle De Meglio

I have a new obsession.

I am a way too frequent customer at MishMash Gourmet, a cozy eatery on Kings Highway near Coney Island Avenue. While there’s colorful salads and hot soups for sale, I always get the same thing — the Chicken Vera Cruz panini. I even order it in spite of its silly name!

According to the placard, Ms. Cruz contains seasoned grilled chicken, iceberg lettuce, plum tomatoes and Swiss cheese wedged between two slices of European flatbread. Oh, I’m getting hungry.

Probably what keeps me going back for seconds and thirds is the purple pickle (it must be marinated in something, I’ve never asked what) served with every panini. It’s got a spicy kick that will make your nose run. Hey, sometimes you need it!

Hoping to avoid ordering the same thing from the same MishMash worker for the umpteenth time, I stayed home and made a Cruz-inspired panini.

Waldbaum’s didn’t have anything that said “European flatbread” so I picked some regular old bread that looked like it could be smushed pretty good.

I went about it the easy way — tossing a chicken cutlet on my favorite George Foreman Grill.

To assemble the panini, I chopped the chicken, Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce as small as I could. Then I tried to make them even smaller since that’s how MishMash does it.

I scooped the mixture between two slices of my Brooklyn pseudo-flatbread and fired up the panini maker.

Verdict: Different but good. My panini was heartier than MishMash’s finely-chopped Cruz but it was still tasty. Hey, at least I saved $6.

Check out MishMash at

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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