One of my favorite lunches while living in Paris was the simple baguette sandwich that any corner bakery carried. Actually, the living in Paris bit is absolute rubbish...but it got you in didn't it? Was only in fact there, long enough to visit and be enthralled by everything at the George's Pompidou Centre, check out my doppelganger - Mona Lisa in the Louvre... Plus recall seeing one or two impressionist exhibitions. To be honest, do recall camping somewhere outside Paris. And the rest is a delicious blur.
So really, to be honest, have done most of my recent baguette eating in local Parisianesque cafe's... Down Under. And do have one of these places in mind in Malvern (Melbourne suburb), where the baguettes and fillings were out of this world and didn't require a two week stay in the Paris capital. More convenient. And avoids hassle of going through customs, learning French nouns and so forth. You just have to dodge the trams though and avoid getting a parking ticket. This particular eatery did something with their baguette filling that I could never nail. Whether it's some secret mayonnaise recipe, or a special oil, I do not know. A mystery.
That said, was re-introduced - more recently - to baguettes in Melbourne during Job Readiness classes, conducted by a tres magnifique French National Job Skills-Readiness Tutor. Ooh la la! I digress.
Making One's Own Baguette Sandwich
Unlike overstuffed American sandwiches, these usually only have butter and thin layers of ham and cheese. The baguette holding it all together is the key here — it has to be fresh, with a crispy outside and fluffy interior. Here's my latest favourite version; it can be eaten for either breakfast, dinner or lunch! Perfect for the plein air picnic.
This baguette sandwich is a fun little twist on egg salad. I slather on a creamy spread made of equal parts mayonnaise and basil pesto, then shingle hard-boiled egg slices right on top. If you haven't quite mastered boiling eggs, now's the time to practice so you get firm whites and perfectly cooked yolks.
The beauty of hard-boiled eggs is that they're portable and packed full of filling protein, and can be made up to a few days ahead. If you bring the cooked eggs and mayo-pesto mixture to work with you - or take along in a picnic basket - all you have to do is pick up a fresh baguette en route and you're all set! This sandwich also makes for a breakfast that's worth waking up to.
Makes 1 sandwich
1 tablespoon pesto - link to easy recipe here
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 hard-boiled large egg
Sea salt & cracked pepper - sprinkle
Using a serrated knife, split the baguette in half lengthwise. Toast the baguette if desired (recommended if the baguette isn't fresh).
Mix the pesto and mayonnaise together in a small bowl and spread onto both cut sides of the baguette. Slice the egg crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces, then lay the slices on the bottom half of the baguette, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt.using.
Top with the other half of the baguette and serve.
For gardening enthusiasts who'd like to explore the self-sufficient good life and grow their own tomatoes and basil... click here for the lowdown.
Of course, there are many other fillings. An all time favourite... to this day is an Italian inspired baguette filling of sliced bocconcini cheese, sliced tomato, fresh basil leaves - drizzled over with a good extra virgin olive oil. Yes definitely my baguette of choice. In fact the one thing I would want on a desert island, along with James Bond, is a supply of bocconcini cheese, some pesto plants, tomatoes and bread.
French Toast: Another Eggy Recipe
Need some bliss? Try these Bliss Balls
Hungry & Poor? Pass The Pesto Pronto!
Photo via flickr