It’s been exactly two weeks since Thanksgiving. Two weeks since we feasted on turkey and mashed potatoes and two weeks minus one day since we picked leftovers out of the fridge with our fingers for the second feast: the leftover feast. Like the great American innovators we are, we make mishmash bowls of stuffing and sweet potato pie, we assemble mini sandwiches buttressed by our mothers’ homemade rolls, we plop scoops of ice cream atop slices of day-old pie and we are happy.
And then, all too soon, the leftovers are gone and we’re back to eating the food of our everyday lives. Salads. Soups. Big bowls of popcorn. Which are good but they’re not leftover-feast good. In our infinite hunger we start searching for an elegant (and easy! and inexpensive!) way to bring the festive and the mundane together and we arrive at the most perfect turkey sandwich ever know to woman. Let me tell you about this not-at-all hyperbolic sandwich. It was invented by a man named Dave at a restaurant called Darwin in San Francisco, and it is a triumph of flavor layering.
Each November, when the sandwich presses at Darwin started churning out this specific iteration of turkey sandwich for a blissful week or two, I queued up multiple times a week to pay homage to Dave by eating his fine sandwich and attempting to burn its flavor profile into my memory to I could one day recreate it. This is that day, friends, and I want you to join me. Let’s put on some gloves and maybe a hat and stroll down to our local deli counter to procure ourselves a pound or so of turkey, sliced as thinly as the machine can do it. Let’s grab a butternut squash for roasting and a head of garlic for aioli-making and skip home with the prospect of a simple, Thanksgiving leftovers-inspired meal in our near future. Let’s scroll down and build some gosh-darn beautiful sandwiches together.
• a fresh loaf of good bread
• butternut squash
• cranberry sauce
• sweet onion
For the aioli:
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1/2 tsp salt
• fresh sage
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 cup olive oil
1. Toss cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400° oven for 25 to 30 minutes until nice and soft. Let cool.
2. Whip up some fresh aioli. I use this fool-proof David Lebovitz recipe plus about four or five leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped.
3. Spread some aioli on one piece of bread. Spread a good dollop of cranberry sauce on the other. Add a bit of butter to the outsides of both slices to facilitate toasting.
4. Build your sandwich with butternut squash, a generous heap of turkey and thinly sliced sweet onion. Feel free to pile on some cheese, too, if you have some hanging out in your fridge.
5. Toast your sandwich in a hot pan, flipping once to brown both sides. I like toasting the bread once the sandwich is assembled because it heats up all the components just a bit.
6. Finish by adding a handful of arugula at the very end so it doesn’t wilt in the pan.
In true Darwin form, I like to serve this with a simple arugula salad dressed in a light vinaigrette and topped with a crumble of goat cheese and some thinly sliced apples.