Showing posts with label Open-faced sandwich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Open-faced sandwich. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Make My Favorite Retro Diner Sandwich by Cleo Coyle

Prices at the deli counter have been giving my husband and I sticker shock for some time now. If you’re making lunch for one or two, the prices are tolerable. But if you’re buying for an entire family or a hungry group, be prepared to take out a second mortgage to pay the bill. 

Here in New York City, premium turkey breast is $8.00 (and more) a pound. We prefer to roast our own turkey sandwich meat for a fraction of that price, and we seldom fuss with a big bird. We simply use a small (6 to 7 pound) turkey breast. 

So here’s a simple recipe for buffet-style turkey. You can use it for a traditional meat-and-potatoes main meal or sandwich-slicing (or both)...

Cleo Coyle's husband is also
her partner in crime-writing.
Together they write
The Coffeehouse
Cleo Coyle’s 
Retro Deli-style
Roast Turkey

This small, all-white meat turkey breast tastes better than anything you can get at the deli counter. It's perfect for making our favorite retro diner sandwich, too, an open-faced turkey with mashed potatoes.

Our secret ingredient is a pair of turkey wings (or even two pairs). Small turkey breasts usually come without wings, but we buy them separately for roasting right along with the bird. The wings render plenty of extra juices for making the rich gravy. See the gravy recipe below this one, and... 

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo


6 to 8 pound turkey breast

+ 2 to 4 turkey wings
   (optional, for extra gravy juices)

3/4 stick (6 T) softened butter

1 teaspoon Bell Seasoning

1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon Smokehouse Pepper

½ teaspoon ground sage

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 tablespoon cooking oil or cooking spray


Above is a standard (wingless) turkey breast of about 7 pounds. Depending on the area where you live, you will either find these in your grocery store or something called "Hotel-Style Breasts," which are sold mainly in the Northeast. The Hotel-Style Breasts are perfect for a buffet. They are generally larger than a regular turkey breast (closer to 10 pounds instead of 4-8), and they have the wings attached. Like the big (15 to 35 pound) turkeys, many brands of Hotel-Style Turkey include a packet of giblets. Small turkey breasts like the one above do not include giblets.


Step 1—Prep the slurry: First preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When the butter is soft, place it in a bowl and add your Bell Seasoning, Poultry Seasoning, white pepper, Smokehouse Pepper, ground sage, and Kosher salt. Blend everything well with a fork until you have a beautiful green slurry. Wash the turkey breast and pat dry. If using wings, remove the wing tips, wash, and pat dry.

Step 2—Prep the bird: Line a shallow baking or roasting pan with aluminum foil. Grease the rack that sits on top. Place the turkey on the rack, and (if using) position wings on either side of the breast. Slather the breast with the slurry you made in Step 1. Massage the slurry under the skin to impart the flavor into the meat. 

You can coat the wings with the slurry, as well. Or simply salt and pepper the wings instead since you're cooking these wings for their juices rather than their meat. 

The wings in my photo above are not attached.
Most small turkey breasts come without wings.
Marc and I like to buy the wings separately and
roast them with the turkey for extra pan juices.

We often roast a second pair
of wings in a separate pan.

Step 3—Roast and cool: Roast the breast, uncovered, according to package instructions, or about 20 minutes per pound. During the last hour, baste the meat in its own juices every fifteen minutes or so. When the meat reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F, remove from oven, tent loosely with foil, and let sit for AT LEAST 30 MINUTES before slicing. Trust me on this! The resting period will keep your turkey nice and moist. If you slice it too soon after removing it from the oven, the juices will run out and the turkey meat will taste dry. 

Amazing pan juices
come from the wings.

Cleo's Favorite Retro Diner Sandwich...

Open-Faced Turkey
with Mashed Potatoes
and Gravy!

For a single serving...

A few juicy slices of freshly roasted turkey

A hearty scoop of mashed potatoes

2 slices of white bread (yes, it has to be white!)

Plenty of gravy (recipe below)

While the turkey is cooling, make mashed potatoes and gravy. Most home cooks have their favorite way to make mashed potatoes. If you feel adventurous, you can try my healthier potato, garlic, and carrot mash. It's absolutely delicious and very easy to make. Get the recipe here.

Good gravy and lots of it is the key to this deli-classic...

Turkey Gravy

Makes about 1 ½ cups


2 cups pan drippings
  (or enough chicken stock to make 2 cups)

2 Tablespoons Wondra flour

Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1—Make a roux: While the turkey is cooling, pour off the pan drippings and let them cool. Skim off two tablespoons of fat from these drippings and warm this small amount of fat in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour until the mixture thickens. You’ve just created a roux. Now gently cook until the roux turns slightly brown (1-3 minutes).

Step 2—Finish the gravy: Measure your remaining pan drippings. If you have less than 2 cups, pour in enough chicken stock to make the full two. Whisk these two cups of drippings (and/or stock) into the roux that you made in Step 1. Heat the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat but continue to stir and let the gravy simmer until it thickens and the flour cooks (4 to 5 minutes). The key here--
to prevent the gravy from breaking--really is stirring! Add salt and pepper to taste, serve hot, and...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

*Starred Review* -Kirkus

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See the book's
Recipe Guide
by clicking here.

* * * 

Coffeehouse Mystery
Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bruschetta Open-Faced Sandwich

RileyAdamsFoodBlogPostpic_thumb_thumb[3] I had a great time at my book club meeting last Thursday.

The book itself was interesting, the discussion was lively, but the very best part was visiting with my friends—and the food that was there!

My friend Corby was the book club hostess for May and she’d prepared a delicious bruschetta open-faced sandwich that all the club members oohed over! So of course I thought I’d share it with you here. The construction of the sandwich is quick and so is the cooking time…but you do need to put aside an hour for the caramelized onions. Corby said that if you try to cheat, it just doesn’t taste the same. And this dish was too delish to mess up!

Bruschetta Open-Faced Sandwich



A take-and–bake loaf of artisan bread
2 -3 onions sliced Caramelized onions
(sauté on low with olive oil and a little butter for about an hour) Take your time because the onions will be sweeter.
1 large Mozzarella ball, sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes cut into thin slices
1/4 pound prosciutto
balsamic vinegar blend (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup fresh basil
A seasoning blend (like Nature’s Seasons)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the loaf of bread in half. Layer these ingredients on the top of the loaf halves—prosciutto on the bottom, then sliced tomatoes, then the caramelized onions. Place the Mozzarella on the top then bake according to the bread instructions (about 10 minutes.) After removing the bread from the oven, add the basil, balsamic blend, and your seasoning mix.

IMG_20110526_193055One of the nice things is that it still seemed like a fairly light meal---perfect for summer. And it wasn’t as messy to eat as it looks in the picture…which is important when you’re at a party or book club!

Coming June 7!
imageFINGER LICKIN' DEAD by Riley Adams
Delicious and Suspicious (Riley Adams)
Finger Lickin’ Dead—June 7 (book 2 of the Memphis BBQ series!)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Open-faced sandwich appetizer

I don't know about you, but I always like to try something new when I'm entertaining. Changing things up - just a little - makes it fun for me.

Easter Sunday meant dinner for 17 and although I prepared the usual ham, sausage, kraut, potatoes, and vegetables, I decided to have a little fun and try out a few new recipes. My guests have learned that they risk encountering a "Julie's Surprise" when they visit. I've had plenty of disasters - which is how the term "Julie's Surprise" originally came to be. But over the years I like to think I've improved a bit and maybe even gotten a little bit smarter.

This year, for example, I dispensed with the tried-and-true broccoli casserole, and included a tasty Brussels Sprouts dish, and another featuring fresh green beans. I'll share those recipes in the coming weeks.

But today I'll start with an appetizer.

This month's MORE Magazine (April, 2010) has a whole section on sandwiches. Some of them sounded wonderful and I'm eager to try them out. When I was trying to come up with my Easter menu, I knew I needed something new on my appetizer table, and I remembered the MORE article. I pulled it up and realized, belatedly, that although the PLT Sandwich was photographed open-faced, the recipe called for it to be a traditional - 2 bread - sandwich. No problem, I decided. I'd just have to adapt.

I did. And the results were terrific!

I made two versions. One all vegetarian, one with pancetta (the "P" in MORE's PLT). The tomatoes are wonderful when roasted, so do take the time to prepare these. I roasted tomatoes and my mixed vegetables the day before Easter and spread them cold over the toasted bread.

Open Faced Sandwich Appetizers

1 double-pack of fresh mini-loaves, sliced. (Buying fresh-baked bread from the grocery store makes things super-easy. I buy the two-loaf pack and ask the bakers to slice it for me. As you can tell, I got these two loaves at the fabulous price of 99 cents. You can't beat that.)

12 (give or take) plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 yellow pepper, sliced and cut into bite-size pieces
1 green pepper, same
1 red pepper, same
6 large white mushrooms, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 purple onion, sliced
2 healthy handfuls of arugula

I roasted my tomatoes separately - drizzling a little olive oil on them, sprinkling them with salt and then baking in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and a half until the tomatoes shriveled and turned a little brown. I used parchment paper to keep them from sticking and this was a really good move (MORE suggested it).

I placed the other, sliced veggies in a shallow roasting pan and drizzled these with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt, as well. I actually use this maneuver fairly often. We love roasted veggies in this house and use them on everything. This time for an appetizer, but sometimes we use them as an easy and delicious side dish. Roast these in the same oven for about an hour and a half as well. They may take a bit longer. When the peppers are soft and the onions begin to brown, they're done.

Toast your bread by placing it in a single layer and baking it in the oven. Here's where I would change my method in the future. I baked these until slightly brown - about 12 minutes. Going forward, I think I would toast them for only about 4 - 6 minutes. Mine were *crispy* - and although that wasn't a bad thing, I think I'd like them a bit better with a little less crunch.

When the bread is toasted, coat with mayo, rip up some arugula, pat into place. Follow up with the roasted tomatoes and vegetables. Return the open-faced sandwiches to the oven and bake for about 6 - 8 minutes (see why I shouldn't have toasted so vigorously earlier?) and when hot, remove from oven and serve immediately.

I made a meat version with pancetta as well. I baked the pancetta separately for about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, and also chilled it before using. On the pancetta sandwiches, I didn't use the mixed veggies. I just topped the arugula/tomato sandwich with that tiny piece of "Italian bacon."

These were absolutely great. My guests enjoyed them and my kids told me to definitely make them again!

More next time!


Author of the White House Chef Mysteries and, coming soon, the Manor of Murder Mysteries. First book - GRACE UNDER PRESSURE. Pre-order now for a June 1st release!

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