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Playing Hot Browns


  • 1 2- to 2 1/2-pound skin-on turkey breast
  • Natural cooking spray, a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil or a little softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 slices meaty bacon (2 per sandwich)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (for 4 to 6 sandwiches)
  • White pepper
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 “Texas”-cut slices white bread, each about an inch thick
  • 4 slices Beefsteak or hot-house tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • Cayenne or paprika, to garnish


Serves: 4 with a little leftover turkey


Preheat oven to 350°F. Pat turkey breast dry and coat lightly in oil or softened butter. Season the breast with poultry seasoning, Kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Place turkey on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast to an internal temperature of 165°F, 45-60 minutes. Let turkey breast rest. Raise oven heat to 375°F.
Bake bacon on a slotted pan or wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to crisp. Remove bacon and switch on broiler.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet, add garlic and swirl a minute or two; remove garlic and turn off heat. 
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan or skillet and whisk in flour to combine. Add milk and season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Thicken sauce and stir in Parm. 
Broil toast on both sides to golden and brush with reserved garlic butter.
Arrange Texas Toast slices on a foil-covered or parchment-lined baking sheet. Slice turkey and arrange on toast, top with a tomato, some Mornay sauce and Gruyère, and broil to golden. Transfer to plates and top with crossed, crispy slices of bacon. Sprinkle with parsley and cayenne, and serve.