Tea-Brined Turkey and Roquefort Baguettes

When I attended the LA Tea Festival a few weeks ago I ended up dropping in on Chef Robert Wemischner‘s class on tea and cheese pairings.  We often think of wine and cheese, but tea and cheese?  I was skeptical.

When it comes to wine we think of the land where the grapes grow, when and where the grapes are harvested, and how they are treated after harvesting.  All the same elements are important to the character of the tea that you drink.  So, just like wine, the complex layers of flavor you enjoy in tea can complement the unique tastes of artisan cheeses in the most unexpected and delicious ways.

Sencha and goat cheese?  Oolong and Gouda?  Assam and Brie?

All surprisingly fantastic pairings.

Especially if you are drinking hot tea, the warmth of the tea brew can can awaken and amplify the true character of a particular cheese, which can make for some unique flavor highlights.

During the tea and cheese tasting class, one of the parings I found most intriguing with was that of a strong, robust blue cheese with smokey, deep Lapsang Souchong tea.  Drinking the Lapsang Souchong actually tamed the pungency of the blue cheese, making it flavorful without being too assertive.

This recipe for Tea-Brined Turkey and Roquefort Baguettes pairs a tangy cheese from France with turkey breast brined in a Chinese Lapsang Souchong tea.  I love that I’m able to pair two of my favorite culinary cultures here in one chic and tasty to-go meal.

Roquefort is a sheep’s milk cheese that comes from caves in the South of France and has characteristic blue streaks.  This cheese is rich, tangy, sweet, and slightly salty.  The black leaves of Lapsang Souchong tea are actually smoked over a pinewood fire, giving the tea a distinct and full-bodied savory flavor.

These rustic baguette sandwiches are perfect for fall picnics and outdoor get togethers. Wrapped in parchment and tied with twine, they make an easy and elegant portable lunch that will leave you longing for a trip to Paris…or maybe even China!

Lapsang Souchong Turkey and Roquefort Baguettes

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Roquefort blue cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lemon juice

2 sprigs of thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup arugula leaves

3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly

4 French Sandwich Baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise

1 Tea-Brined Turkey Breast, sliced thinly

Equipment:

parchment paper

twine or string

Directions:

1.)  Mix yogurt, mayo, Roquefort, garlic, and lemon juice together, then add salt and pepper to taste.

2.)  Spread Roquefort mixture on both sides of cut baguettes, then scatter thyme leaves over the spread.

3.)  Arrange arugula, tomatoes, and sliced turkey breast on bottom part of baguettes, and place top baguette piece on to finish the sandwich.

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