By Morgan Murphy
(256 pp., $21.95, Oxmoor House)
Off the Eaten Path is a part road trip, part diner's guide, part cookbook. It includes fun facts and signature dishes of well-loved Southern restaurants; reviews of kitschy roadside attractions; food finds such as the best local products from honey to barbeque sauce; and annual food events to be found along the way. Award-winning travel writer Morgan Murphy drives readers across 17 Southern states – from route 10 in Alabama to route 244 in West Virginia – pausing just long enough for such treats as "Loretta's Bread Pudding" (Arkansas), "The Hot Brown" (Kentucky), to "Country Smothered Pork Chops" (Mississippi). And if you find yourself in Amarillo, Texas, be sure to stop and stretch your legs at the Crop of Cadillacs: graffiti covered cars "planted" in a bare field. If you missed the chance for a road trip this summer you'll feel like traveler after browsing "Off the Eaten Path."
Makes 4 servings
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups heavy cream
10 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. thinly sliced roasted turkey breast
4 Texas toast slices
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon paprika
8 cooked bacon slices
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat broiler with oven rack 4 inches from heat. Melt butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly 3 minutes until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese, salt, and pepper.
Trim crusts from toast. Place 1 toast slice in each of 2 (24-ounce) lightly greased individual casserole dishes. Place 2 tomato halves beside each toast slice. Top toast slices with turkey. Spoon cheese sauce over turkey and tomato; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese.
Broil 5 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Sprinkle with paprika. Arrange 2 bacon slices in an "X" pattern on top of each casserole. Sprinkle with parsley.