‘Tis the season for turkey sandwiches, so what better to share for the latest installment of our monthly recipe feature than a fresh new take on an old favorite? The Smoked Turkey Sandwich at Airways Brewing Bistro and Beer Garden features a locally made Macrina ciabatta roll, house-made tarragon aioli, and tart and tangy cranberry agrodolce. (Recipe below.)
The Airways Bistro has changed pretty dramatically since it first opened, when it was a 21+ establishment with a pocket-sized kitchen. They have now added an all-ages restaurant, tucked behind the original bistro, with a full kitchen. Now in addition to beer, wine, and cider, you can order scratch cocktails with a focus on locally distilled liquors and house-made mixers.
In the summer, the beer garden’s courtyard patio is the place to be, with sunny seating surrounded by hops growing up the fences. In Dione’s dream world, one of the next additions for Airways Bistro will be a new smoke shack adjacent to the beer garden so the kitchen can smoke their own meats on a regular basis.
Before an event at the ShoWare (go Thunderbirds), the crowd gets big and raucous until they depart en masse for the game. Most times we have popped in for dinner, we enjoy sitting at the bar so we can chat with friendly locals.
The menu at Airways is inspired by co-owners Alex and Dione Dittmar’s travels to Western Europe. Dione, who oversees the menu development, frequently tinkers with the menu to add influences from Spain, Italy, Germany and more. Dione says, “We think of our menu as more than pub food.” For example, on today’s happy hour menu we spotted a Spanish Chorizo and Manchego plate, not exactly your typical pub fare.
They also focus on what’s fresh and local for the season. Today there’s a delicata squash flatbread on the specials list—a taste of fall. Some things on the menu don’t change. When asked about the most popular menu item, Dione didn’t skip a beat—the burger, without a doubt. So of course, we had to try one of those for you. It features 8 ounces of beef cooked to a perfect medium on a Macrina brioche bun (adds a touch of sweetness, says Dione), caramelized onions and two kinds of aged cheddar. We had it with the hand-cut fries—skin on, perfectly crispy with truffle oil, a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and Maldon’s sea salt.
Another item you will always find on the menu year-round is the Smoked Turkey sandwich, one of my regular favorites regardless of the season. Pair it with the Airways Pre Flight Pilsner any time of year, or in the winter try it with the Curbside Porter when it’s available.
Get information about Airways Bistro on their website, including their open hours, location and menu. Thanks to Dione and her team for sharing their recipe with us.
Airways Smoked Turkey Sandwich
Macrina ciabatta bun, split
Tarragon aioli (recipe below)
Cranberry agrodolce (recipe below)
Smoked or regular turkey (great way to use up leftovers)
Handful of arugula or any salad greens
Open the ciabatta bun and spread a generous smear of aioli on one side. Spread an even more generous smear of cranberry on the other side. Layer on several slices of turkey to taste. If you would like the sandwich heated as they do in the Bistro, they recommend roasting it open-faced for several minutes in a 350 degree oven. When the sandwich came out of the oven, the roll was slightly crispy and the turkey was slightly browned. Add a handful of arugula or other greens, and serve with a green salad or fries on the side.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp water
½ tsp Kosher salt, pepper to taste
½-1 clove garlic, to taste
1 tsp roughly chopped tarragon leaves
Juice from ½ lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
2/3 cup canola oil
Add egg yolk, water, salt and pepper, garlic, and tarragon to food processor and blend. Add lemon juice, continue blending. Slowly add in the oil and keep blending until thickened.
½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
4 oz. pine nuts
2 cups dried cranberries
1.5 cups balsamic vinegar (or just enough to cover mixture in pan)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
In sauté pan, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add pine nuts and cook until lightly toasted, then add dried cranberries. Let the mixture heat through, then add balsamic vinegar. Heat to a boil, then add sugar. When sugar is mixed in, turn heat down to low and let simmer until the balsamic vinegar is almost evaporated. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Agrodolce is a traditional Italian sweet-and-sour sauce. The word comes from “agro”, Italian for sour, and “dolce”, Italian for sweet, and it’s made by combining vinegar with sugar, honey, or syrup, then adding fruit, nuts, vegetables, herbs and spices.