This roasted turkey sandwich is one of our biggest sellers but, interestingly, each customer cites a different reason the sandwich is special. One says that she could eat the onion marmalade with a spoon for breakfast daily. Others can’t say enough about the bacon. Tom applauds Sisha’s decision to cut the turkey thicker, thus showcasing its moistness. This is an ensemble piece, with no clear headliner. While we use ciabatta, this sandwich would work as well on country bread, too.–Tom Colicchio with Sisha Ortúzar
☞ Table of Contents
Turkey, Bacon, Onion Marmalade Sandwich
For the balsamic onion marmalade
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 medium onions thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
For the turkey sandwich
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless turkey breast
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 slices bacon
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- 1/2 cup balsamic onion marmalade
- 1 ripe avocado halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Make the onion marmalade
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it slides easily across the pan. Add the onions, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the onions are soft.
- Add the sugar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the marmalade, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the onions appear dry. Add the vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until the onions are soft and dry. Serve the marmalade warm or at room temperature. Store the marmalade in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.
Make the turkey sandwich
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Slide the sage leaves under the skin of the turkey breast and place the turkey on a sheet pan. Rub the skin with the butter and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the turkey for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Baste the meat with its juices throughout. (Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook even after it’s removed from the oven, so be careful not to cook it too long.) Allow the meat to rest before slicing, or cool completely.
- In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Slice the ciabatta rolls in half. Place the turkey slices on the bottom halves and top with the onion marmalade. Place the bottom and top halves of the rolls in the 350°F (175°C) oven and remove once the marmalade is heated through and the bread is toasted. Top the marmalade with the bacon, followed by the avocado. Evenly spread the mayonnaise on the top halves of the rolls. Close the sandwiches, cut into halves, and serve.
Bacon NoteDon’t cook the bacon over too high heat or the fat will burn. When you’re done, save the fat you’ve rendered and store it in the freezer. The next time you’re roasting some vegetables, toss some bacon fat in with them!
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I have one word for this recipe: Awesome. I love the combined flavors of the sage-roasted turkey breast, onion marmalade, crispy bacon, and creamy avocado. A word of caution about the marmalade: If you taste this, you may not have enough left for the sandwiches. It’s delicious. I can’t find ciabatta rolls in my area, so I baked my own from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday. We could hardly wait for the onions and turkey to finish cooking, as the smells in the house were making us drool. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe, and will be making it again and again.
What a hit this was. The aromas from roasting the turkey, sautéing the onions, and frying up the bacon filled the house and led to a very tasty sandwich. Don’t cut back on the onions, you’ll want to slather this marmalade all over the turkey, and enjoy the leftovers the next day. Next time, I will omit the mayonnaise, which I felt wasn’t necessary.
Absolute heaven on a bun! The aroma coming from the oven was fantastic. In one bite, you get the buttery flavor of the avocado, smoky flavor of the bacon, the sweetness from the onion marmalade, and the taste of fresh sage and turkey. The only boneless turkey breast we could find was a roast that was held together with mesh, but it worked well, and we were able to stuff the sage leaves throughout. We also didn’t remove the sage before serving, and instead thinly sliced the turkey as is. The only ciabatta rolls we could find were multi-grain, but it was a nice addition. We ended up with five servings instead of the four stated in the recipe, and it only took half of a sandwich to fill you up. All in all, this is a fairly economical recipe to serve. It’s easy to put together, and looks elegant on a plate.
There must have been a shortage of boneless turkey breasts in my area—it took seven grocery stores before I found one in a smallish size, fabricated as a roast with a nice mesh wrapping and a little pop-out “I’m ready” thermometer. I left the mesh wrapping in place, and stuffed the sage under the skin as best as I could. I cooked the turkey until it hit 158 degrees. With residual cooking, the final temp was around 168 degrees, rendering it overcooked and a little dry. I halved the onions and probably wouldn’t do that again—I fiddled too much, worrying about cook times due to the different volume of onions and liquid. I couldn’t find ciabatta rolls, so I used a ciabatta loaf, and just portioned it into the sandwich sizes we wanted. The ciabatta was the perfect texture for this combination. All in all, this is a really good recipe that would have been great with a couple of tweaks to my execution. Don’t overcook the turkey, go for all of the onions (they are worth it) and make sure your avocado is ripe. You will have a great sandwich.
Originally published August 26, 2009