A Sandwich a Day: Kentucky Hot Brown at Derby
While not exactly a tradition of the Kentucky Derby—look instead to Derby Pie and mint juleps—the hot brown is probably Louisville's most famous dish, and it's one worth celebrating. Kind of like a variant of Welsh Rarebit, the open-faced sandwich features a rich Mornay that is ladled over toast and sliced turkey, broiled until bubbling, and then topped with bacon and other garnishes. It's pure comfort food, one that instantly reminds me of growing up nearby. That sort of explains how I found myself at Derby in Lincoln Park just days before the race. (Okay, and I had a mint julep, but I promise I didn't get into those until later.)
Derby's Kentucky hot brown ($14) certainly looked the part, even if on closer inspection little details were off. The bread hadn't been toasted long enough, so it kind of disintegrated, and I haven't the slightest clue why both ham and turkey were included. Luckily, removing the mound of ham helped matters tremendously, allowing me to focus on the interplay of the enveloping sauce with the mild turkey. In the end, it's a fuzzy picture, sort of like squinting your eyes, but this kind of gets the job done.
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