Move over, cheesesteak: Philly's got an Oreo-crusted chicken sandwich

Oct. 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM ET

Kirsten Henri/@Kirstenography /
Who knew Oreos and chicken could make a harmonious combo?

Everyone has an opinion on the right way to eat an Oreo ­— twist apart and dunk, lick out the icing, or just eat it whole — but we bet you’ve never tried it the way they serve it at Lil Dan’s: crumbled on a tender chicken cutlet, topped with hot sauce and stuffed into a roll with lettuce and tomato.

The Philadelphia-based food truck, which specializes in sandwiches, is serving up the vanilla Oreo chicken cutlet with homemade spicy sauce. And despite its oddball combo of ingredients, it’s a big hit with customers.   

Owner Dan Pennachietti and his chef-brother Nate came up with the unusual creation at 2 a.m. on their way back from catering a wedding.

“We had sold out of everything,” Dan told TODAY.com, “and I was starved. I was thinking about how when I got home I was going to have a big bowl of Oreos with milk — I like to eat them like cereal — and the idea just popped in my head. I had already been trying to think of a new sandwich idea, and I thought that the Oreos might make a great breading for chicken. People eat chicken and sweet waffles, right? Why not Oreos?” The brothers started working on the recipe the next day.

Kirsten Henri/@Kirstenography /
Food truck owners Dan and Nate Pennachietti show off their unusual creation.

Nate, more of a traditionalist in the kitchen, took some convincing, but after tweaking the recipe (Nutter Butters were also an early contender) and adding his own mayo-based, buffalo-sauce-chili-flake-and-relish-spiked hot sauce, he was satisfied with the result. The Pennachiettis use Golden Oreos instead of the classic chocolates because, as Dan explained, “half of eating is visual and they just didn’t look good, although they tasted delicious.”

The Oreos are pulsed down to a fine powder in a food processor — the cream filling acts as a binding agent, so no eggs are needed. Fresh boneless chicken breast is then dredged in the Oreo breading and fried before getting topped with sauce, lettuce and tomato and tucked into a Philly-legit Amoroso’s roll.

So how does the sandwich, which the Pennachiettis christened the “Lil Dan,” taste? Surprisingly subtle! You can taste the sweetness of the Oreos, but they’re not overpowering, and the hot sauce balances it out with a savory tang (although we’re not quite ready give up our milk and start dipping our regular Oreos in it anytime soon).

Check Lil Dan’s website or follow them on Twitter @lildansfood for updates on where the truck is each day. Should you require enough Oreo-crusted chicken sandwiches for a crowd, Lil Dan’s also caters. 

Kirsten Henri is a Philadelphia-based food writer. You can find her on twitter @kirstenography.

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