Every Sunday, I try to visit the small, varied and excellent green market in Carroll Park. It’s an easy bike ride from my apartment, and I get to sort through purple lettuces and spicy links of chorizo and dirt-flecked mushrooms. Then I pedal home and make lunch. It is my very favorite weekend activity.
This past week, I found some slender cherry blossom branches. All the buds were closed at first, but almost as soon as I put them in water, they started blooming. Now my apartment is full of little pink flowers. Despite the cold snap in New York this week, it is spring in my apartment.
My usual market procedure is to walk past all the vendors once, figure out what looks good, and then make my purchases on the second walk through. As of last week, I think I’d bought from all of the vendors, save one: Di Paula turkey farms.
It wasn’t like I hadn’t noticed Di Paula’s stall before. It is impossible not to: each week they keep a griddle going covered in blistered onions and samples of turkey burgers. It always smells insane. But I guess I have a Thanksgiving prejudice, because I never thought to use turkey products in my everyday cooking.
This changed when I started planning this club sandwich. Let me tell you something: turkey breasts are big. Like, really big. And apparently I am the only one afflicted with Thanksgiving turkey narrow-mindedness because at 10:30 in the morning, I bought the very last turkey breast available.
I’d originally planned to use regular bacon for this recipe, but then I stopped by Hudson Valley duck farm’s stall, and you know how quickly these things can spin out of control. Duck bacon is a lot less fatty than the pork variety, but it has a great depth of flavor. I also decided to make a thyme mayonnaise, because I am obviously not happy unless I’ve made things as complicated as possible for myself.
If you are in a pinch, you can substitute honey turkey from the deli for the turkey breast, regular bacon for the duck bacon and store-bought mayonnaise for the homemade version. But I promise it will taste better if you make it yourself!
Makes 6 sandwiches
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature, as fresh as possible
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided, plus more for the sandwiches
- freshly ground black pepper
- about 1 cup canola oil
- sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 turkey breast (about 3 pounds)
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- zest of ½ a small orange
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 slices duck bacon
- 18 slices Pullman bread (or any good quality white bread)
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 head Boston bib lettuce, washed and dried
Make the thyme mayonnaise: Empty the egg yolk into a small bowl and mix with the minced garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a few generous turns of the pepper mill. Slowly incorporate the oil in a thin stream, while constantly beating with a fork or mini whisk. Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, until the mayonnaise has risen in the bowl, turned a very pale yellow and has a consistency firm enough to stick handily to the back of a spoon. Add sea salt to taste, and then the thyme. Let the mayonnaise rest in the fridge, covered, for at least one hour before use. (This can also be made a night ahead.)
Prepare the maple turkey breast: Sprinkle the turkey breast generously with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Sere the turkey breast, a few minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
Deglaze the Dutch oven with 1 cup of water. In a small bowl, combine ¾ cup maple syrup, the brown sugar, the remaining tablespoon of Dijon mustard, the orange zest, the bay leaf and the butter. Stir to combine, and then add to the Dutch oven. Give it a good stir, and heat until almost bubbling.
Add the turkey to the Dutch oven. Give it a quick brush all over with the maple glaze, and then put the lid on. Cook for 20 minutes, and then flip and baste the turkey breast. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165F, 35-40 minutes.
Remove the turkey to a cutting board, tent it with foil and let it rest for about 20-25 minutes.
Prepare the maple bacon: Preheat the oven to 350F.
Set the duck bacon on a rack over a baking sheet. Move the baking sheet to the oven and cook for about 6 minutes, or until it looks like it is just starting to get crispy. Remove the duck bacon from the oven just long enough to brush it with maple syrup, then continue cooking it for another minute or two. When it comes out of the oven, crack a little black pepper on top.
Assemble the sandwiches: Toast all of the bread. Cut the bacon in half and slice the turkey.
Swipe a layer of mayonnaise onto 6 slices of toast. Place turkey slices on top of the mayonnaise, and then the tomato. Add another slide of toast, and then swipe on a layer of Dijon mustard. Add the lettuce, and then bacon. Top with the last slices of toast.