Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Wednesday Story

Step One: Shake up a batch of homemade salted butter.
Step Two: Walk to the market for a pound of jambon bayonne
Step Three: Stop at a nearby french bakery for a fresh crusty baguette that is way better than any you've ever made. Get distracted by the delicious-looking lemon squares (they aren't the best you've ever had, a little sweeter than you like, but somehow you always feel compelled to order one anyway). On second thought, you'll just have an iced hazelnut coffee (truly one of the best around) and leave with the baguette you came in for in the first place.
Step Four: Assemble your jambon-beurre; rip or slice open a piece of baguette and spread one side with butter. Lay a few slices of the jambon on top of the butter - not too many, just enough for a thin layer. Throw in a handful of arugula and a slather of imported dijon mustard for a twist on the traditional. Slide the sandwiches back into the paper sleeve.
Step Five: Pack your sandwiches and lots of water into a backpack, take a friend with you, and hike multiple miles up, down and around some mountain trails. Breathe in the clean air, leave behind thoughts of traffic and the suburbs. Don't forget your camera, but try not to get caught up with taking pictures either. Remember, there is no time like the present.

Step Six: Stop at a few overlooks, look out over the edge of the cliffs. 

Step Seven: Sit down onthe smooth rocks near a small waterfall. Take out your sandwich and take a bite. Bask in the saltiness of the jambon and the creaminess of the butter - the way they contrast with the spiciness of the arugula and mustard; completed by the way the crust, that it's all pressed between, shatters with each bite.
Step Eight: Drink plenty of water it's pretty hot outside. 
Step Nine: Look around for the wild blueberries that you know won't be ripe for at least another month - probably two. Search anyway just in case, by some fluke, they are ripe early. Find them, they are still quite green. 
Step Ten: Pack up your stuff and hike to the other side of the lake. Poke your head inside a dilapidated house, stop to notice the flowers, lay out in the sun just a few minutes more.

Step Eleven: Head back to suburban sprawl via an over-crowded highway, don't let the traffic ruin your day.

If making you're own butter doesn't appeal to you, just be sure to purchase a high quality fresh, salted buter. Something in a tub not shaped like a stick - preferably freshly packed and local. Imported from France would be okay as well. If you have trouble finding Jambon Bayonne, a more common variation is the spanish version called Jamon Serrano or of course the italian prosciutto. I think that jambon and jamon are both a little drier (in a good way) than the prosciutto available near me. Just be sure to ask the price before they slice it, I almost accidentally ended up with a Jamon Iberico; another spanish variation cut only from black iberico pigs, that was $150 a pound! Serves 2

1 French Baguette
1 lb Jambon Bayonne or Prosciutto
Salted Butter (see headnote)
1 Very Large Handful Baby Arugula
Imported Dijon Mustard (I like Maille or Hediard)

Slice the baguette open length wise and spread the bottom half with butter. Layer Jambon thinly on top of the butter and spread lightly with dijon mustard (on the ham not the bread). Top with arugula and close the Sandwich. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for such a beautiful hike. I felt like I was right there with you, and really, I spent my Wednesday in a windowless kitchen cranking out all the trappings of high-end exclusive club cooking. I love my job, truly. But that kind of day, that exploring and experiencing and enjoying, well it has it's own kind of magic to love.


Live Activity Feed