Your Life A to Z Recipe: Friday, April 25th, 2014: Open-Faced Sandwich and Chilled English Pea Soup

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Your Life A to Z Recipe: Friday, April 25th, 2014

By: Executive Chef Chris Curtiss

Kentucky Derby “Hot Browns” – An opened faced sandwich that originated from the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1920’s. Originally intended as an option for a late night supper this sandwich has gained a cult following for Kentucky Derby race fans over the years.

Béchamel – (for the Mornay)
2 oz. Unsalted Butter
2 oz. All Purpose Flour
2 qts Milk
1 cup of Yellow Onion Sliced Thin
¼ tsp. of Nutmeg
1 TBSP Kosher Salt – plus more to taste

1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pot and then add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, add the flour and cook for five minutes on medium low heat to create your roux.
2. Heat your milk in a separate pot then gradually add to the sauce pot with the onion roux.
3. Season the mixture with salt and the nutmeg.
4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir often. (you are looking for a thick creamy  texture)
5. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.

Mornay – (also known as a Cheese Sauce)
4 cups of béchamel
1 cup of grated White Cheddar
1 tsp. Tobasco Sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire

1. Heat the béchamel in a small sauce pot.
2. Add all of the ingredients and whisk well until the sauce is smooth.
3. Reserve in a warm place.

Assembling the Hot Browns
4  1 inch thick slices of sourdough bread
½ pound of thinly sliced smoked turkey breast
8  slices of crispy bacon
2 vine ripe tomatoes sliced thin
2 cups of mornay sauce
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 pinch of Fresh Black Pepper

1. On a sheet pan (cookie sheet) rub the olive oil then place the slices of bread on the sheet.
2. Top each slice of bread with some smoked turkey breast followed by the bacon.
3. Top each sandwich with a quarter cup of mornay – be sure to cover as much of the sandwich as possible.
4. Place the sheet pan of sandwiches in a 375 degree preheated oven for ten minutes.
5. Plate the sandwiches and top with several slices of tomato.  

Chilled English Pea Soup
1 pound of Shucked English Peas
6 cups of Cold Vegetable Stock or Cold Filtered Water
½ Cup of Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream
3 TBSP of Lemon Olive Oil
1 TBSP Kosher Salt
1 Pinch of Fresh Ground White Pepper
(for blanching the peas – 2 gallons of water, 1 cup kosher salt)

1. Bring 2 gallons of water to a rapid boil in a large sauce pot with the cup of kosher salt.
2. Add the peas and cook until they are completely tender – approximately four minutes.
3. Immediately shock the peas in an ice water bath to halt the cooking process.
4. Once the peas are cold strain them and squeeze out the excess cooking liquid.
5. Place the peas in a bar blender along with the cold stock or water.
6. Add the salt and pepper and process on high speed until you have a uniformly smooth liquid.
7. Add the crème fraiche and olive oil and process for 10 seconds.
8. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
9. Serve the soup in chilled soup bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the lemon olive oil and some freshly cut chives, scallions or mint.