Grilled Turkey Sandwich a Perfect Follow-up to the Holiday

If you are like me, you’ve just started recovering from your
Thanksgiving dinner. According to the medical-information Web site
WebMD, most Americans consume more than 3,000 calories during
Thanksgiving dinner.
If you are like me, you’ve just started recovering from your Thanksgiving dinner. According to the medical-information Web site WebMD, most Americans consume more than 3,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner.

Although most people consume a lot, much of the dinner goes uneaten. Right now you might be feeling like you don’t want to see another piece of turkey, lump of mashed potatoes or side of dressing until next year. Yet at the same time, it’s all so good, you can’t wait for the next round.

To relish those leftovers, people enjoy a re-warmed second dinner, soup from the turkey carcass and the turkey sandwich.

The basic turkey sandwich is very simple: bread, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and turkey. I like this sandwich, but for me, it must have fresh-cracked pepper. My mom likes her basic turkey sandwich with regular pepper and extra mayonnaise.

Leftover rolls are a good food to hold the sandwich together. Sometimes I also like a turkey sandwich with avocado, lettuce and tomato. In most cases, I like my turkey sandwich cold.

Other people, like my grandmother, enjoy a hot open-face turkey sandwich. Hot food warms the soul, and for her, this sandwich is no exception and is a once-a-year favorite. Personally, I don’t care for these sandwiches because the bread gets soggy with gravy.

I conducted a search on the Web for “turkey sandwich” and came across a wide variety of recipes for cold and hot sandwiches. There are some rather interesting varieties of cold turkey sandwiches. One recipe suggests mixing the roasted turkey with cream cheese and pickle relish. I don’t think I’d like how this sandwich would taste.

Another recipe I came across was for a spread made from dijon mustard, honey, sesame seeds and ground ginger. I also found a recipe for a famous hot turkey sandwich called the Hot Brown, developed in Kentucky. Toasted bread, turkey, parmesan cheese sauce and parmesan cheese are layered and broiled in the oven. I think sometimes these sandwiches can become a little boring, and I always like something new.

This is a grilling column, so I must add my spin to the hot turkey sandwich. I have enjoyed a fair number hot chicken sandwiches. None of those sandwiches seems to embody the flavor of thanksgiving. Of course, none of these sandwiches has turkey either.

One of my favorite ways to prepare a hot chicken sandwich is by using a panini press or grill pan. I use the simple grill pan chicken that I talked about two weeks ago in this column to make these grilled sandwiches. My new challenge was to create a sandwich, made on a panini press or grill pan, containing the flavor of Thanksgiving. And it couldn’t be soggy.

Since my family grilled a turkey last week, we had all the makings to create my new grilled turkey sandwich. I started to explore all of the flavors and how they work together. Mashed potatoes and gravy didn’t seem very good. Dressing didn’t seem good either, because that’d be bread on bread. And string beans? Let’s not go there.

The best ingredient that will complete my sandwich has to be the cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce balances the right amount of sweet and tart with a bright burst of flavor.

But something was still missing, something creamy and nutty. Swiss cheese would help to round out the sandwich perfectly.

I warmed my grill pan and got to work. If you have a George Foreman Grill, it will work fine for making the sandwich, as the browned grill marks on the bread look beautiful.

The first bite was good, and the second even better. I accomplished my goal: a hot grilled sandwich with the taste of Thanksgiving in every bite, and it was wonderfully crisp and not soggy. The turkey sandwich you used to know will never be the same.

Mitch Mariani’s Grilled Turkey Sandwich

2 slices of hearty bread (make sure the bread is strong enough to hold the ingredients together)

2 tsp. butter

Sliced Swiss cheese

Sliced roasted turkey

1/4 cup cranberry jelly or sauce

Step 1: Preheat grill pan over low heat, or preheat a panini press or George Foreman Grill according to directions.

Step 2: Spread 1 tsp. of butter on each slice of bread. Assemble the sandwich by placing Swiss cheese on unbuttered side of one slice of bread followed by the turkey, then the cranberry jelly or sauce. Place the unbuttered side of the last piece of bread on top of the cranberry jelly or sauce.

Step 3:Grill the assembled sandwich on each side for about 5 minutes in the grill pan or for 5 minutes on the panini press or George Foreman Grill. Cook until bread is toasted and cheese has melted.

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