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Turkey and the Wolf Collard Melt

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Collard Melt was one of the most popular recipes in September 2022
Photo by William Hereford

The Collard Melt is a mainstay on the menu at Turkey and the Wolf  courtesy to the chef skills of Mason Hereford. It’s so delicious that made it into the “Enjoy Every Sandwich” section of Hereford’s new cookbook.

Try making the hearty sandwich yourself, and melt with a bite of crunchy coleslaw paired with heat from the Spicy Russian dressing. Don’t forget the main to the Turkey and the Wolf collard melt: collard greens.

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Makes 6 sandwiches

    For the sandwich:
  • 1½ cups collard greens
  • 1 cup room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 18 slices seeded soft rye bread
  • 12 thick-cut slices Swiss cheese
  • 1½ cups coleslaw
  • Spicy Russing dressing for slathering
  • For the coleslaw:
  • 6 cups packed thinly sliced green cabbage
  • Heaping ½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1½ tablespoons distilled white vinegar plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal or about half as much Morton), plus more to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the spicy Russian dressing:
  • 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • ½ cup roughly chopped drained hot pickled cherry peppers
  • 2 teaspoons Heinz ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru
  • ½ teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal or about half as much Morton), or more if you like
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

For the sandwich:

  1. Move an oven rack so it’s 4 to 6 inches from your broiler and preheat the broiler. In a small pot, heat up collards, along with a splash of potlikker or water to keep things juicy.
  2. Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Swipe butter on each side of the bread pieces and toast in the skillet in batches until both sides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Once toasted, move twelve of the slices to a baking sheet in a single layer, top each with a slice of cheese, and melt the cheese under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Put a handful of coleslaw on six of the cheesy slices of rye, top with the other cheesy slices (cheese-side up), then spoon on the collard greens (about ¼ cup per sandwich, or more if you like). Slather the remaining slices of rye with the dressing and complete the sandwiches. By now, they’ll be room temp, which is how the Turkey and the Wolf crew likes them. Halve them and eat them.

For the coleslaw:

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix really well with your hands, massaging the cabbage so it wilts to about 3 cups. Hereford recommends it cold, so consider chilling it in the fridge, where it keeps for up to 3 days. Before serving, taste, and add more vinegar and salt as desired.

For the spicy Russian dressing:

Combine all ingredients, stir, then season with more salt to taste.


Try more recipes from Mason Hereford’s new cookbook to go on a flavor trip to New Orleans.

  • Adapted from
    The Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ Through New Orleans, by Mason Hereford (Penguin Random House) Copyright ©2022

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