The Roaring Twenties was associated with breaking traditions and modern trends. One of those trends was dancing. The Brown Hotel in Louisville Kentucky hosted more than a thousand guests each night for a dance that would last until the early hours of the morning. While the band took a break, the dancers would take the opportunity grab some food in the restaurant. Chef Fred Schmidt kept his guests interested and happy by creating the Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey sandwich, and it turned out to be a hit. The Louisville favorite has been featured in the media and is still served as signature dish at the Brown Hotel.
There are many variations of the recipe, but I chose to follow the Brown Hotel recipe. The main alteration I made to their legendary Hot Brown recipe was to forgo the Texas toast for pizza dough of course!
I started by making the Mornay sauce, which I had never done before. I love an adventure! I melted butter, added flour for a roux, then added white wine and whisked in skim milk. While it was thickening I minced a clove of garlic and added that to the sauce. After a few minutes I stirred in a half cup of Pecorino Romano cheese. After pre-baking the dough, I spread on a thin layer of the Mornay sauce, added sliced roasted turkey, crispy turkey bacon and sliced Roma tomatoes. The Mornay sauce got nice and bubbly while it was baking and aroma of the sauce and bacon made my mouth water.
My Hot Brown pizza recipe made one of those pizzas that took me by surprise. It tasted amazing! The rich flavors of the garlic mixed with the cheese and the wine along with the meats and the tomatoes were divine. Normally I have good self control over how many slices I eat but I struggled with this one. I just wanted to keep eating! I guess that’s why they danced all night at the Brown Hotel, so they could eat more of the Hot Brown sandwich.