A hearty Thanksgiving feast, like the one Haven chef Charlie Parker hosted for his coworkers on Oakland’s waterfront, means lots of leftovers to look forward to. Only hours after the sit-down meal, chef Parker was already back in the kitchen, assembling his take on a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich.
Turns out the chef is pretty particular about the components of a good sandwich: “What makes a great sandwich is fresh bread, lots of spicy pickles, and fresh herbs and vegetables,” he tells us. “I hate to ruin my afternoon to an aggressively fatty sandwich.” He also believes in working with what you’ve already got on hand: with the exception of two ingredients (Dijon mustard and a charred scallion and Aleppo pepper aioli from the larder), he used the same ingredients and components that went into his Thanksgiving spread.
- Quality bread: “Start with a good, fresh bread,” Parker says, one that has enough heft to stand up to all of the toppings to come. To make his open-faced creation, he used thick, crusty slices of levain.
- Turkey and stuffing: The core of a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich should include turkey, of course, not to mention a generous amount of stuffing. Parker likes to use the smoked turkey breast with cornbread stuffing and chicories that he made for his friends.
- Lots of acidity: Balance out the richness of cornbread stuffing with acid: “Without enough pickles and freshness, a sandwich can become a gut bomb,” he says. Parker used the pickled onions from his Curried Cauliflower with Pickled Onions and Pomegranate and pickled Jimmy Nardello peppers from his Dungeness Crab Toast with Avocado that had been steeped in a Champagne vinegar and sugar brine. He also added a swipe of Dijon mustard.
- Crunch: For extra crispness, he added thin slices of apple that he had on hand from making his turkey and stuffing recipe.
- Fresh greens: “I like lettuce for a little freshness,” he says. For the sandwich he made that day, he utilized tiny hearts of gem lettuce, which he had remaining from his Mushroom and Fennel Salad with Humboldt Fog Cheese.
- Aioli or mayonnaise for a nice mouthfeel: For creaminess, he recommends an aioli; for this sandwich, he turned to a homemade charred scallion and Aleppo pepper aioli to lend smokiness and a little bit of heat to the sandwich.
To experience Friendsgiving at Haven firsthand, catch our video below.
For more, including Charlie Parker’s Northern California “friendsgiving” menu, head to our Open Kitchen: Haven page.