In case you didn't know, a ham and cheese is pretty much France's official sandwich. You can get it anywhere, and you can order it by it's given name, the croque-monsieur. A croque-madame is a croque-monsieur with an egg on top, and you know both are a cultural staple, because French Ikeas don't serve Swedish meatballs, but they DO serve both mr + mrs croques! This is a croque-meuf, which is a way hipper version of either, because «Mais allo quoi!» zis bitche iz on FRRRENCH TOAST.
Get ready for a mega post, mes cheris. #sandwichpornpornporn
Oh the French. It's been almost two years since I've left France, but let me tell you, the impression is lasting. I learned soooooo many things about the human condition there. And really didn't at all feel like I came in, and went out feeling like I knew it all, so please forgive this rant:
I was told about 1000 times that Canada couldn't possibly make good wine, over a glass of 3€ per bottle. Same about cheese. Let's say that goes for food in general. Even though everything I ate the whole time I was there, already exists in a recipe book, save for all the meals I made myself. And people kept asking me «Uh, so, uh, how you call zis dish you makes?» ... I dunno, just look at your plate. That stuff that's in it, that you see, that stuff you're eating. That's what it's called. It's freeform cooking. Not 1000 years of suffocating tradition.
I'm sorry. Where did this French-hostile tirade come from? It came from recalling the memory of that time I made the mistake of going with my friend to an Ikea, on a Saturday. In France. The French do have a certain reputation, and let's just say, I was driven a bit edgy that day. But I was cheered up by a romantic afternoon Ikea cafe friend-date with my Minnesotan one and only, and a glass of watered down lingonberry juice. And we marvelled at how much the French Ikea cafe menu is catered to French tastes, and the giant stacks of croque-mr + madames. Which were actually quite impressive, and flying off the shelf.
It's funny. All the parts of France I went to had a quite substantial middle-eastern presence, yet all the kebab (shawarma) joints were completely adapted for the French. My first day landed, I headed straight for any decent looking falafel. To my incredulity, I could not order one with hummus and baba ganoush, but "would I like ketchup on that? Mayonaise perhaps?" Wtf? And they ALL had pizza and hamburgers on the menu too. The weirdest part was that there seemed to be no authentic places, like there are in Toronto, and furthermore, they all had an option of ordering anything à la American, which means with ketchup and fries. Yea. A falafel with ketchup and fries. But that was my experience really, all around Europe.
I guess cultural integration is necessarily different in places such as France, as compared to Canada, where here, being an immigrant, and having a foreign culture is actively celebrated. Not all culture, but certainly, and foremost, food, is kept in tact. And infuses itself within the new locale. I always thought food was amazing here, and so undefinable, but really, being in France, and listening to all their self-congratulating conservatism about all their culture's creations, and gastronomic achievements affirmed that this part of the world unquestionably has the better deal. We have great food, as does everywhere, as does France, but what we have that they certainly lack, or are just starting to accept, is invention. It's why every menu in the city is different. It's why you can read through, and see the 10 different cultures informing the creations. And why when you go to someone's house, you have no fucking clue what to expect, and that Canada doesn't have a "style" of food. It has fusion. It's why we have so few names for our foods.
Anyway. This isn't all to say I didn't meet wonderfully curious, adventurous, open-minded French people, with their own ideas, and styles, and uncharted food traditions. It's just that the menus, and crèpe worship get a little cliché. But forgive me this contentious diatribe for a culture I once tried earnestly to ingratiate myself to, and have a strong admiration for. I made them my own little interpretation of one of their rightfully praised traditions.
bread (Queen St Gluten Free Bakery white bean and millet seed)
black forest ham (in house by The Hogtown Cure)
caramelized onion cheddar (found at The Hogtown Cure)
one organic + free range egg
Oh guys, this one has some steps, but it's all pretty simple. Spread the mustard. Because meat and cheese are better with mustard. Because I say so.
Then go with some cherry jam. I couldn't resist the idea of ham and cherries. Definitely going to use that in another sandwich post.
The ham. Seriously, if you live anywhere near Brockton Village, GO to The Hogtown Cure. Like, run there now. And eat everything. They make a ton of in-house meats. You can sit and order a sandwich, and top notch coffee, or hang out at their amazingly curated deli counter. This is probably the best ham I've ever had.
Then the cheese. This has been featured in a few posts lately. So good.
Has the right amount of dry to creamy you want in a cheddar, and is just irresistible to look at.
Now you're pretty much done with the sandwich. Remember, it's just a ham and cheese. Get a wide bowl or plate, crack your egg, and add some vanilla if you want, then mix it around.
Then the fun part, you're going to dunk your sandwich in it!
Flip it over, both sides, you want it to soak up as much egg as possible.
Then you fry it in the pan, with butter. Medium-low heat, a few minutes per side. I added the cinnamon here, flip it a couple of times so both sides get some cinnamon.
And there you go. It's a double French sandwich. French toast croque-madame = croque-meuf, the younger, better dressed, more worldly version.
Here's what it looks like cut. Fluffy, dense French toast. Probably overloaded on the ham.
If you're liking this at all, it gets better, but you should probably start thinking about sending this to a friend.
There you go. What's French toast without the maple syrup!
Ahhhh. I just want a sticky shower in this stuff.
This sandwich kind of ruled. Sorry for getting angry before. I think it was how the French mean angry, which is actually how they pronounce hungry. #hangry.
Now go on, if you know a friend who would gawk over this post, go share it with them. Are you guys on Instagram? I just want to spread the sandwich joy.
Thanks for looking!