Culinary Connections | Hot Sandwiches

ENGLAND FRANCE IRELAND ITALY SWITZERLAND

Croque-Monsieur

This Parisien snack has travelled to the four corners of Europe since it appeared in 1910.

The buffet car on the TGVs between Paris and Geneva once served grilled croque-monsieur as good as any Parisien café, proving the maxim that quality ingredients make the dish!

These being artisan bread, gruyère cheese and cured ham.

The deluxe version contains a gruyère béchamel topping.

A baked or poached egg on top turns monsieur into madame!

  • 16 slices (8 cm x 8 cm)
  • Gruyère 8 slices (10 cm x 10 cm)
  • 8 slices white bread, crusts removed (8 cm x 8 cm)
  • 8 slices ham
  • Butter, for spreading
  • 4 baked / poached eggs (optional)
  • 60 g béchamel (optional)

Place a slice of ham between two slices of gruyère, then between slices of buttered bread, grill for five minutes each side until the bread takes on a light toast.

For a rich croque-monsieur, spread béchamel made with gruyère on top after grilling one side, grill until a brown skin forms.

A baked or poached egg turns monsieur into madame!


Bookies Sandwich

The bookies sandwich got its name a long time after it was established as a packed lunch eaten by workers in various labouring jobs and people involved with hunt and race meetings.

In England it was a thick seasoned sirloin steak grilled, sometimes fried, and placed between thick loaf crusts spread with horseradish and mustard condiments.

In Ireland it was a thick seasoned rump steak grilled and placed between white soda farls spread with carmelised onions.

The English version was wrapped in paper and cold pressed for 30 minutes.

By the middle of the 20th century the ‘bookmakers sandwich’ was a pub food in Britain and Ireland, and in Irish pubs across Europe and America.

The Vienna loaf replaced the batch loaf crusts and soda bread, then the ciabatta replaced the Vienna.

In Ireland the Waterford blaa is used to hold the steak, because it is seen as the ideal bread bun for soaking up the juices from the meat and the flavourings from the condiments and seasonings

Elsewhere the condiments betray its origins, and the meat will be beef or veal tenderloins, the latter in continental Europe.

Batch Loaf Version

  • 700 g (4 x 175 g beef sirloin steaks, thick)
  • 8 (4 cm) thick bread crusts
  • 100 g creamed horseradish 
  • 100 g English smooth mustard
  • 15 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt

Spread four crusts with horseradish and four with mustard, according to taste.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices between each set of crusts, wrap in greaseproof paper, leave each sandwich under a heavy weight for an hour.

Eat cold.


Vienna / Ciabatta Bread Version

  • 700 g (4 x 175 g beef / veal tenderloin steaks, thick)
  • 2 breads, side cut along length, halved
  • 100 g Dijon coarse mustard
  • 25 g soft butter
  • 15 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt

Spread four pieces of bread with mustard, and four with butter, according to taste.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices on buttered breads, top with mustard breads, wrap in greaseproof paper, leave each sandwich under a heavy weight for an hour.

Eat cold.


Soda Farl Version

  • 700 g (4 x 175 g beef rump steaks, thick)
  • 4 farls, side cut along length
  • 500 g onions, halved, sliced
  • 25 g soft butter
  • 15 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt
  • Oil, for frying

Sauté onions in oil over a low heat for an hour, until they are brown and almost crispy.

Spread four farl halves with butter, four with onions.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices on onion farls, top with buttered farls, press down with hands, leave to cool.

Eat cold.


Focaccia Panino / Focaccia Farcite

Cafes in Italy have offered focaccia filled with cheese, meat, vegetables and sauces for so long now it seemed inevitable that someone would think of baking the filling inside the flat bread – a tradition that is not new, especially in Asian Europe.

Stuffed focaccia is unlikely to rival the Napolese pizza anymore than the Genoese pizza did when their fates were shared. Technically focaccia farcite is not a sandwich but its popularity is increasing, especially among the young, so you never know.

Focaccia fillings include brie, emmental, fontina, gorgonzola, grana padano, gruyère, mortadella, mozzarella, pancetta, pecorino, porcini, prosiutto, ricotta, salami, spinach and whatever vegetable is available.

Therefore stuffed foccacia – made with potato dough, sweetened egg dough and plain dough, and hardly ever with olive oil drenched dough or traditional sweet dough – is a meal in itself.

Perfect for lunch!


Focaccia Farcite – 1

  • 400 g 00 flour 
  • 300 g potatoes, cubed, cooked, cooled
  • 125 ml water, tepid
  • 30 g olive oil
  • 30 g olive oil, for greasing
  • 25 g yeast
  • Sugar, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Milk, for brushing

This potato dough focaccia will take any filling you care to put in it, suggestions below.

Dissolve yeast in sugar in water, leave for 15 minutes.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, add salt and potatoes, and gradually work them into the flour with a tablespoon of oil.

Pour in the yeast liquid, mix and knead, add another tablespoon of oil.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for ten minutes until the dough is smooth, add more water if necessary.

Cover and leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Roll into a large rectangular to cover the base of baking tray, greased, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Place fillings on one half, fold the other half on top, seal with milk, leave to rise for 15 minutes.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, turning the tray once.

Suggested fillings and quantities:

125 g mozzarella / ricotta

90 g emmental / gruyère

90 g prosiutto / mortadella

75 g spinach / tomatoes


Focaccia Farcite – 2

This version produces a lighter bread, suitable for a thick cheese and ham filling.

  • 230 ml water, tepid
  • 200 g strong white flour
  • 200 g white wheat flour 
  • 180 g prosciutto
  • 45 g brie
  • 45 g fontina
  • 45 g gorgonzola
  • 45 g grana padano / pecorino, grated
  • 30 g olive oil, for greasing
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in sugar in water, leave for 15 minutes.

Sieve flours into a large bowl, add salt and work in the yeast mixture.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth.

Cover and leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Roll into a large rectangular to cover the base of baking tray, greased, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Place fillings on one half, fold the other half on top, seal with milk, leave to rise for 15 minutes.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, turning the tray once.


Focaccia Farcite – 3

For sweet tooths.

  • 500 g 00 flour
  • 5 eggs (250 g), 1 separated
  • 250 g sugar
  • 150 g apricots, dried, chopped small 
  • 90 ml date syrup
  • 50 g vanilla sugar
  • 25 ml grappa
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 2 lemons, zest, grated
  • 2 oranges, zest, grated

Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl, stir in the plain sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon and orange zest, add the grappa and eggs (leaving the white of one egg aside), mix and leave to rest for an hour.

Preheat to 180°C.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for five minutes into a smooth dough.

Divide into two equal pieces, shape each into a rectangular shape, place on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, brush surface with egg white.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Spread date syrup across the surface of each focaccia, stopping short at the edges, sprinkle apricot pieces on top, cut into squares, sandwich!


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