The last of the family has gone home, the TV is off, the folding chairs and extra tables have been returned to storage. It’s just you, a glass of wine and what’s left of the turkey carcass to clean for a batch of homemade stock.
For some of us (I can see your hands raised out there) there are few things finer than the day-after turkey sandwich. Made right, it’s the culmination of days of preparation, hours of work and a whole lotta love.
You have to have the right bread. White, sub rolls, buns are out. Ditto rye and pumpernickel. A seriously whole grain bread or maybe a fresh-from-the-artisan-bakery ciabatta bread, is an absolute requirement. It has to contribute to the overall flavor, be formidable enough to stand up to the filling and give you a satisfying chew.
Then mayo. Hellman’s, or, now that I’m living in Arizona, Best Foods. Nothing else will do, not even homemade. Miracle Whip? Hell no. Hellman’s. Applied to both slices of bread.
Lettuce. I’m partial to Red Leaf lettuce. Washed thoroughly and paper-towel dried. Figure two fairly good size leaves per sandwich.
Dark meat or white, the turkey here is the true star. Sliced on the bias with a verrrrrrrrry sharp knife, each piece thin enough to work with, thick enough for a solid mouth feel. Or, the opposite…layer it on chunky style without slicing.
Stuffing is the next layer. Having spend the night in the ‘fridge, even the crunchiest home made stuffing should be more spreadable the next day. Spread it right on top of the turkey.
Cranberry sauce? Oh yeah, especially that chunky homemade sauce. But not too much as it’s a pushy flavor. And don’t forget to drain it well.
In my house, the next to last layer is classic French Chicken Liver Pate, a recipe I make only at this time of year. One 1/3″ slice, just a tad smaller than the bread itself, piled on top.
The second leaf of lettuce follows, then just the slightest shake of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt…you know, the big red and white plastic bottle in the back of the pantry. Finally, the last slice of bread. Now, using a serrated edge knife, cut it diagonally and plate it up with the insides showing. A couple of gerkins, maybe some kettle chips and a cold beer.
–Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All rights reserved. 2008