Ahhhhh...it's Kentucky Derby Day! Since I was a little girl, I've loved watching the first leg of the Triple Crown the first weekend of May. The history, and the stories behind each horse, rider and owner is one of our favorite things to watch. And along with a collection of colorful hats, over the years we have created an arsenal of Kentucky food favorites to enjoy as well!
Kentucky, famous for its horse races and bourbon, is also home to the classic American Hot Brown. This open-face sandwich is steeped in rich history - developed in the roaring 1920’s by hotel chef Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Tired and hungry after a night of dancing, flappers and guests would head into the restaurant for a bite to eat. Wanting to provide some variation from the standard egg and ham sandwiches they served, he developed this thing of beauty – an open-faced turkey sandwich with fresh tomato slices and crisp bacon on thick white toast covered in a thicky, bubbly Mornay sauce.
The Hot Brown is still the most popular item on the menu at the Brown Hotel. It becomes more popular around the time of the Derby, but it's really an attraction year-round. People love the historic aspect of the sandwich and enjoying it at the place where it was invented. It's something that people specifically come to the hotel to enjoy. If you’re visiting in Louisville, there’s even a trail you can follow, the Hot Brown Hop, to try different takes on this sandwich across the city.
This is my take on the classic, and it is a family favorite WINNER!
We start with a couple of really wonderful, basic ingredients...Caramelqued Bacon and a creamy Mornay Sauce.
Once you've got the Caramelqued Bacon and Mornay sauce mastered, the rest of the sandwich comes together really quick.
Sprinkle with flavorful Pecorino Romano cheese and a bit of snipped parsley, and you are ready to serve! See, that wasn't so complicated!
Whether you love watching the races or not, this fabulous open-face sandwich is a WINNER every time! And it's not just for Kentucky Derby days...perfect anytime you want to make something special for the special people in your life!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think there's a Mint Julep calling my name - and I've got the perfect dinner to go with it. And we're off to the races!