We made an awesome Cajun-injected turkey breast on our Char-Broil Big Easy for Christmas this year. Since it was just the two of us we ended up with quite a bit of leftover turkey meat. The last time we had extra turkey we made the most outstandingly good chipotle turkey salad sandwiches. This time, we made these sweet and savory turkey paninis that were beyond fantastic. Maple bacon, crispy fried shallots, cheese, and chipotle mayonnaise. A little heat, a little crunch, a whole lot of flavor.
After making these sandwiches you’ll want to put chipotle mayonnaise on every sandwich you ever make. And you’ll want to top them with fried shallots. Trust me. It happened to me. I went on a fried shallot kick like the world has never seen! They’re like onion rings but so much better. The cayenne pepper really goes well against the sweetness of the shallots.
My toasted Italian sandwich, also made using a Griddler, is also fantastic.
Sweet and Savory Turkey Panini
- 1 pound thick cut maple bacon
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups thinly sliced shallots
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 4 canned chipotle peppers chopped plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds cooked turkey breast sliced thin, warmed slightly if desired
- 1 loaf focaccia bread
- 8 slices smoked cheddar cheese sliced (I substituted extra sharp cheddar slices)
- 1/2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Add enough oil to a small Dutch oven or pot to have 2" of oil. Heat to 375 F.
- Preheat a large skillet, Griddler, or panini press.
- Line a baking sheet pan with foil and add bacon. Do not overlap (use a second baking sheet if you need to). Bake 10 minutes, flip and bake another 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness) until starting to crisp. Remove and place bacon on a paper-towel lined plate. Cover to keep warm.
- Combine the flour, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
- Add the shallots and toss to coat well.
- Working in batches, shake off excess flour mixture and add shallots to the hot oil.
- Fry 2-3 minutes per side until crispy golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
- Whisk together the mayo, chipotles, adobo sauce, cilantro, lemon and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cut bread loaf in half horizontally.
- Slather bread with chipotle mayonnaise on both cut sides.
- Add cheese, bacon, shallots, turkey to bottom bread piece and cover with top piece. Cut into 8 sandwiches.
- Brush tops of sandwiches with melted butter.
- Working in batches, cook sandwiches 3-4 minutes until bread starts to crisp. If cooking in a skillet cover sandwich with another skillet to press down on it while cooking.