Chefs share their best sandwich ideas for Christmas leftovers

Josh Niland's Christmas leftovers smoked salmon sandwich.
Josh Niland's Christmas leftovers smoked salmon sandwich. Photo: Christopher Pearce

The only thing better than Christmas dinner is Christmas dinner leftovers. Fact. It's hard to improve on ham sangers made in the glow of the open fridge door. But to add an extra layer of Christmas sparkle, we've asked some of Australia's best chefs to give us their best sandwich ideas to help tackle the remains of the day.

Fried Turkey kebab at the Biggie Smalls Windsor. 13 December 2017. The Age Epicure. Photo: Eddie Jim.

Do your leftover turkey justice. Photo: Eddie Jim

Shane Delia's Christmas turkey kebab

This is a spin-off of the Dirty South, one of the most popular "kbabs" at Shane Delia's two Biggie Smalls kebab joints. "I can't think of a better way to do justice to a leftover turkey than to give it a crisp coating and roll it up in a kebab."


For the turkey

4 pieces cooked turkey (100g-140g each)

For the crisp coating

100ml buttermilk


1 egg

15g castor sugar

10g salt

100g seasoned flour (see recipe)

For the seasoned flour

100g plain flour

8g garlic powder

8g onion powder

6g dried oregano

2g cayenne pepper

6g chicken salt

Garlic and lemon aioli

120g confit garlic*

500g mayonnaise

150g dill pickles, strained well and finely diced

zest from 2 lemons

salt to taste

4 pieces Greek-style (thick) pita bread

1 tbsp olive oil

100g pickled red onion, roughly chopped

30g flatleaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

½ iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped

chilli sauce to taste


Step 1 To make the seasoned flour, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl..

Step 2 Mix buttermilk and egg together in a medium bowl until smooth. Add sugar and salt, along with 50g seasoned flour, and mix to a smooth paste. Add turkey and marinate for one hour. Once marinated, flour the turkey generously with some of the remaining seasoned flour and refrigerate for an hour, or until it becomes sticky again.

Step 3 While the turkey marinates, make the garlic and lemon aioli. Mash the confit garlic in a medium bowl using the back of a spoon. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Stir in the pickles, season with lemon zest and add salt to taste. Set aside.

Step 4 Flour the turkey generously again and deep-fry at 170C until just golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

Step 5 Brush bread on one side with olive oil and grill until golden. Place bread on top of a sheet of baking paper. Spread bread with desired amount of aioli, add pickled onion, parsley and lettuce followed by the fried turkey. Add as much or as little chilli sauce as desired and roll kebab up, securing it with a sticker so it doesn't unroll.

*If you don't want to make confit garlic, substitute fresh or roasted garlic to taste.

Makes 4

SYDNEY, GOODFOOD -AUSTRALIA - December 14: Josh Niland chef at Saint Peter Christmas leftovers smoked salmon sandwich in Sydney on December 14, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media)

Save the skin from the Christmas Day salmon. Photo: Christopher Pearce

Joshua Niland's hot smoked salmon and its crisp skin, pickled beetroot and rocket

Josh Niland, of Sydney seafood restaurant Saint Peter, sticks to his gill-to-tail philosophy with this Boxing Day sandwich. He recommends saving the skin from the Christmas Day salmon to add crunch to this salmon sandwich, which relies on good quality hot-smoked salmon (he uses Woodbridge from Tasmania), bread and mayonnaise, plus some quick-pickled beetroot.


185g hot-smoked salmon, skin on

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp diced eschalot

1 tbsp finely sliced tarragon, dill or chervil

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste

freshly cracked black pepper to taste

100g thinly sliced raw beetroot

pinch of table salt

pinch of castor sugar

50ml grapeseed oil or canola

6 slices white bread, crust off

handful of rocket or similar hot-tasting leaves

1 tsp hot mustard


Step 1 For the smoked salmon filling, start by carefully removing the skin and setting it aside. Shred the salmon flesh coarsely and mix with mayonnaise, eschalot, herbs, lemon juice and black pepper. In a separate bowl mix the sliced beetroot with salt and sugar and lightly rub into the beetroot to soften and gently pickle. Leave to stand for four to five minutes.

Step 2 For the crisp skin, heat grapeseed oil in a frypan and place the skin in the pan, scale side down. Place a small saucepan on top to ensure the skin cooks evenly and stays flat. Once golden on both sides (about two minutes), remove to a square of paper towel and season lightly with sea salt.

Step 3 To assemble the sandwich, start by removing the bread crusts and place a generous spoonful of salmon mixture in the centre of the bread. Spread evenly. Add rocket and a few slices of pickled beetroot, followed by some of the crisp salmon skin and the second slice of bread, which has been smeared with a little hot mustard. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.


The Age, Good Food. Guy Grossi's panettone (cake-bread) sandwich, with ice cream and custard using Christmas leftovers.Pic Simon Schluter 14 December 2017.

'For us it's like having Christmas pudding.' Photo: Simon Schluter

Guy Grossi's panino di panettone (panettone sandwich)

Panettone is an Italian Christmas tradition for the Grossi family, which owns Melbourne restaurants Grossi Florentino, Ombra, Merchant and newcomer Pezzo, among others. "For us it's like having Christmas pudding – Christmas wouldn't be the same without it," says chef Guy Grossi. "It's great for breakfast with coffee, after dinner with tea or just as an afternoon snack. Once someone cracks one open it doesn't last long but there's always one or two unopened ones lying around." This recipe is a delicious way to use it up, toasted and sandwiched with custard, maraschino ice-cream and berries.


1 panettone

Maraschino ice-cream

500ml milk

160g egg yolks (about 8)

220g castor sugar

100ml maraschino liqueur

400g sour cream

For the berries

125g blueberries

125g blackberries

80g castor sugar

125g boysenberries

125g raspberries

100ml Alchermes liqueur*


1 litre milk

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

8 egg yolks

230g castor sugar

140g plain flour

400ml thickened cream

2 tbsp castor sugar, extra

icing sugar to serve


Step 1 To make the ice-cream, bring the milk to a simmer and remove from the heat. Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Pour in the warm milk and mix in.

Step 2 Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to 80C, stirring continuously. Keep at this temperature for a few minutes then cool over an ice bath. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight to mature. The next day, mix in the maraschino and the sour cream then churn in an ice-cream maker.

Step 3 Into a medium saucepan add the blueberries, blackberries and sugar. Cook over a high heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid comes out of the berries. Try to avoid breaking up the berries. Add the remaining berries and liqueur, simmer gently for one minute and remove from the heat, allowing to cool.

Step 4 To make the custard, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until creamy, then whisk in the flour until well combined. Whisk the mixture into the hot milk, then continue to whisk over medium-low heat until the custard is smooth and thick. Simmer for one to two minutes, whisking constantly, then pour into a baking tray. Closely cover the custard with plastic film to prevent a skin forming.  Refrigerate until cold.

Step 5 Transfer the cold custard to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat for one to two minutes or until smooth. Whip the cream and extra sugar until thick, then fold into the smooth custard.

Step 6 To assemble, slice the panettone into two-centimetre slices, then cut into squares about nine centimetres by nine centimetres. Toast the panettone in the toaster or under the grill until golden.

Step 7 Place a square of toasted panettone in an individual serving bowl and spread a spoonful of custard over the panettone. Scoop a ball of maraschino ice-cream on top of the custard and a spoonful of the berries, drizzling the syrup all over. Cover with another square of the panettone and dust with icing sugar. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Serves 6

*Alchermes is a red spice-flavoured Italian liqueur. If you can't find it, use maraschino or other cherry liqueur.

Frank Camorra's mollete (Andalucian ham sandwich) with kimchi at Bar Tini in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

Frank Camorra's mollete with kimchi at Bar Tini in Melbourne. Photo: Daniel Pockett

Frank Camorra's mollete (Spanish ham sandwich)

This is my version of Andalucian ham sandwich, only with kimchi. At Bar Tini we use house-made molletes, soft bread rolls that take two days to make. Substitute soft white rolls such as baps.


200g leftover Christmas ham, thickly sliced

2 buffalo mozzarella balls, thickly sliced

100g kimchi

1 small tin good quality salted anchovies

6 small white fluffy rolls


Step 1 Cut the rolls in half. Place a slice of mozzarella on top of the base, followed by ham, kimchi then anchovy. Add the other half of the bun and toast on medium in a sandwich press, until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp outside.

Makes 6

Pastry Chef Andy Bowden's Christmas pudding ice-cream sandwich.

Ice-cream sandwiched inside pudding slices. Photo: James Alcock

Andy Bowdy's leftover Christmas pudding ice-cream sandwich

Pastry chef Andrew Bowden, aka Andy Bowdy, of Sydney's Saga cafe, has a fun way to cool down and "mush" up your leftover Christmas pudding. Even though the pudding dough sandwich is cold, obviously you can still float these in a pool of boozy custard in the unlikely event there's any leftover.


approximately 700g leftover Christmas pudding

1 litre store-bought vanilla ice-cream

1 ½ cup smoked almonds, chopped

1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped

¼ cup cocoa nibs

½ cup gingernut biscuits, crushed

¼ cup cornflakes, crushed

pinch of salt

400g dark chocolate, melted


Step 1 In a mixing bowl, squish together the leftover Christmas pudding with your hands until it reaches a dough-like consistency. Divide the pudding "dough" in half. Press into the base of two 18cm cake rings. Each ring of dough should be about 5mm thick. Freeze until set and able to be removed.

Step 2 In a mixing bowl, quickly combine the ice-cream, cherries, and 1 cup of the smoked almonds. Press the ice-cream mix onto one of the pudding discs in its cake ring. Massage and compress the mix to remove any air pockets. Smooth the surface and place the second reserved pudding disk on top. Place in the freezer for 4 hours or until the ice-cream is firm. 

Step 3 In a bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup of smoked almonds, cocoa nibs, gingernuts, cornflakes and a good pinch of salt.

Step 4 Remove the frozen ice-cream cake from the ring and cut into eight pieces. Working quickly, dunk half an ice-cream sandwich piece into the melted chocolate. Briefly allow the excess chocolate to drip off and place into the bowl of crumbs to form a crust over the chocolate. Repeat. Store in the freezer until ready to serve. 

Serves 8