On the Mediterranean

On the Mediterranean

You don’t have to go far for a taste of this region—our new Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread sandwich brings the delights of this style of cooking home to your local bakery-cafe.

If you crave classic fare such as hummus, feta, and fresh vegetables, you’re in for a treat when you order our Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread sandwich, a standout new item whose flavor combination appeals to anyone who appreciates a taste of world cuisines, says Panera Bread® head chef Dan Kish. Made on freshly baked flatbread, the sandwich is piled with all-natural chicken raised without antibiotics, curried-lentil hummus, feta, cucumber, and a napa cabbage blend, and dressed with Greek-style tzatziki sauce.

The real draw of Mediterranean ingredients like hummus and tzatziki is their great versatility. “Whether you make your own from scratch or sample ready-made varieties from your local grocery store, there are plenty of ways to enjoy these wonderful flavors at home,” says Kish, who shares his own favorite ideas.

Hummus. This Middle Eastern staple is traditionally a puree of chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, and lemon juice. It’s easy to make: Puree a quarter cup each of tahini and lemon juice in a food processor until creamy. Add a clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a dash each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cayenne, and salt, and process again. Next, add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, plus enough cold water to smooth out the texture, and process until smooth. For an even simpler option, buy hummus in your grocer’s deli section, where you’ll find a wide variety of flavors (roasted red pepper, garlic, spinach, artichoke, and more) to choose from. Have fun discovering your personal favorite! Use hummus as the main flavor player in a sandwich or wrap—it easily substitutes for meat—or as a condiment or dip. Panera’s version of hummus is slightly different: “We use lentils as the base and season it with turmeric and cilantro,” says Kish.

Tzatziki. This classic Greek dip, a blend of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and lemon juice, is so addictively delicious you’ll want to use it on anything from grilled meat and fish to salads and crudités. The tzatziki in Panera’s Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread sandwich is made with Stonyfield Organic® nonfat plain Greek Yogurt blended with select ingredients including cucumbers and honey. Here’s a recipe to try at home: Mix together 2 cups of low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt, 1 cup of peeled, grated cucumber, 4 cloves of garlic (grated), 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of ground cayenne. Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.

Feta. With a taste that can range from mild to sharp, this Greek cow’s milk cheese is traditionally cured in brine and shaped into blocks that are easily sliced (feta actually means “slice” in Greek) or crumbled. Sample different types from your grocery store or cheese shop; the one used at Panera has a mildly salty taste and a semidry, crumbly texture. Others are creamier or firmer. Feta is always a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and even scrambled eggs.

 Flatbread. Stuff it, roll it, grill it, dip it—what’s not to love? Flatbread recipes vary from culture to culture, but this unleavened bread is fast becoming a culinary sensation, popping up on grocery store shelves across the country. Use it to make sandwiches, panini, or pizzas, or tear it into bite-size pieces and use it to scoop up hummus or tzatziki.