This month’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap comes from the Maison La Fitte in Palm Beach. Remember when we went to Maison La Fitte after that day of sun-dappled Palm Beach antiquing? You found that kicky flapper’s hat and I picked up that wagon wheel in the heart of the shopping district? Then we sat down in the picturesque courtyard and ate a pound of chicken meat cooked in a pint of heavy cream?
Well, the very best thing about the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap is that the recipe selected by its moderator is merely a jumping off point for the rest of us. So I scanned the rundown on Stuffed French Pancakes until I found something that greased my flag pole, in this case called “Mornay sauce.”
Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce (roux of butter and flour cooked in cream or milk) combined with shredded or grated cheese, in this case about a 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano. Once well-simmered, I seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper, poured it over two slices of Texas Toast (your local grocery story may call it simply “French Toast”) topped with turkey and ham, tossed in some sliced tomatoes and a little more Pecorino Romano, broiled it until it was bubbly brown, and baptized the results with some parsley and smoked paprika. The finished product is what’s known as the “Hot Brown,” a signature sandwich invented by Chef Fred K. Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. The “official” recipe for the Hot Brown follows below.
The Hot Brown From The Brown Hotel – Louisville, Kentucky
(Makes Two Hot Browns):
- 2 oz. Butter
- 2 oz. AP Flour
- 16 oz. Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
- 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
- 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
- 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of Texas toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.