Holiday Ham leftovers at their finest.
To me, sandwiches are like cars. They can be humble and serviceable like my old green Saturn, they can be overly large and hard to handle like a Hummer, efficient but somewhat boring like a Prius, or packed with things you don’t really need like a Mercedes tricked out with docking stations, heated seats, and snowboard racks.
Following this analogy, the world’s greatest ham sandwich is a red 1969 MG convertible. It’s sporty. It’s sleek. A classic with a European flair, it turns heads and it’s gone in a flash. It’s easy to make, fun to eat, and good enough to be pictured on calendars.
*Start with the bread. A fresh crusty baguette is best. A lightly toasted croissant or sturdy rye would also work, if you can’t find the perfect combination of crunchy brittle exterior and pillowy soft interior that defines the ideal French bread.
*The add cheese. Specifically Brie, softened a bit. Don’t mess around with fake brie (in a plastic container, without the rind), or American brie that’s been pasteurized and sterilized until it tastes like Velveeta. Get the real thing – gooey and creamy with a healthy layer of crust. Slice it and cover one half of your halved baguette with the oozing goodness.
*Smoked ham, very thinly sliced. The better the ham, the better the sandwich. Holiday ham leftovers are perfect!
*Baby spinach. Wash carefully, pat dry, and remove the stems. Then pile on a layer of soft, supple leaves – just enough to add a slight crunch and a bitter note to the sandwich.
*Cherry mustard. Mix one part cherry preserves (homemade or from the store), with one part dijon mustard. Blend well, then slather the other slice of baguette with that sweet and spicy mixture.
Assemble sandwich and luxuriate in the combination of flavors. Think of it as a joy ride along the Pacific highway the top down on a warm summer afternoon.
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