If you tend to think of peanut butter primarily as an ingredient to slather onto soft bread with jelly, or for eating by the spoonful out of the jar (guilty as charged — though I don’t double-dip), pairing peanut butter with chicken and other savory elements might strike you as unusual.
However, there is a worldwide precedent for using the spread in such dishes.
In Ecuador, a warm, cumin-and-onion-infused peanut sauce is served drizzled over potato cakes; peanut butter is stirred into West African chicken soup and stew to add creamy body and nutrition; and Southeast Asian cuisine boasts the mouthwatering satay sauce, a tangy-spicy-savory peanut sauce, for dipping skewered meats.
That dipping sauce — and my general love of peanut butter — inspired this exciting sandwich, where simply grilled chicken is piled onto whole-grain bread, then smothered luxuriously with the boldly flavorful sauce before being layered with crisp, colorful vegetables — sliced cucumber, grated carrot and fresh spinach leaves.
Though it’s not a true satay sauce, it hits similar notes with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. To make it, simply stir the ingredients together in a bowl until creamy and incorporated. As this sauce can be made several days ahead and refrigerated, as can the chicken, the resulting sandwiches make for a thrilling, satisfying meal at a moment’s notice.