Last week when we were in Florida for Spring Break I knew to expect one thing. A "Ladies" lunch! My sweet mom always tries to take me and my girls out for a special luncheon. We all pretend we are important ladies out for our high tea with watercress sandwiches and petit fours. It works for about 10 minutes - until my oldest bursts out with one of her contagious laughs. It's fun while it lasts!
This Spring break she chose "The Veranda" for a Hot Brown sandwich. My mother's neighbor Tweedy grew up in Kentucky and introduced my mom to this delicacy - and instantly my mom knew this would be where her "Ladies" would lunch!
We dressed in our Spring Break best and headed up the road about 45 minutes to this lovely establishment in the Fort Myers downtown area. They sat us by the fireplace where we had beautiful views of the veranda! It was a little cool on this spring day to actually sit on the veranda - We wouldn't want our lovely little ladies to freeze - now would we!
This was the Hot Brown - it was as gorgeous to see as it was to eat! Tweedy had previously given my mom her recipes for the amazing sandwich.
Original Hot Brown Cheese Sauce: 2 Tablespoons Butter 1/4 cup flour 2 cups milk 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Melt butter in a sauce pan; blend in flour. Add milk, cheese and seasoning, stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Set aside. Sandwich: 8 slices trimmed toast 1 pound sliced turkey breast or ham 8 slices tomatoes 8 slices bacon; cooked 4 oz Parmesan Cheese Sprigs of parsley
Cut toast into triangles and put into baking dish. Arrange turkey slices on toast and cover with hot cheese sauce. Top with tomatoes and bacon or ham. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 until bubbly. Garnish with parsley.
The picture above is Tweedy and her man Gene- Isn't she as cute as her name!!!
Another Variation of the Hot Brown Sauce: 2 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons flour Salt to taste 1 (3 1/2 oz) can sliced mushrooms; drained (or 1/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms sauted) Dash of Cayenne pepper 1 chicken bouillon cube 1/4 teaspoon curry powder 1 Tablespoon Sherry 1 cup milk Melt butter in a small skillet; blend flour and salt. Remove from heat; stir in milk slowly until smooth. Return to heat; stir in mushrooms and bouillon cube. Cook until bouillon cube is dissolved and mixture thickens. Add Sherry.
Sandwiches: 4 slices of toast 4 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced 4 slices bacon, cooked and sliced in half 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Place toast on 4 oven safe dishes. Cover with sliced chicken or turkey breasts. Pour sauce over sandwiches. Sprinkle with cheese and place pieces of bacon criss cross on top. Place under broiler and broil until bubbly!
If you're ever in Fort Myers, Florida don't forget to check out "The Veranda"! Go on a Tuesday because that is the only day you can get a Hot Brown - and it is completely worth it!