HAM SANDWICH SQUARED

Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be great. Simple high-quality ingredients mixed with a little know-how can get you to a delicious place that sometimes gets lost for the sake of convenience and price. Let’s face it, most of what sets food apart is the ingredients, not some fancy secret kitchen trick.

One of the main reasons we established Gateway Market was to provide the community with easy access to quality ingredients. We wanted you to arm your kitchen arsenal with ingredients preferred by chefs and discriminating home cooks.

Using simple but high-quality ingredients will make a huge difference in how a dish tastes.

A recent project of mine at Gateway Market has been to revive a 90-year old recipe for sliced white Pullman bread. This specific sandwich bread dates back to at least the 1920s, although square, ban-baked bread was probably first made in 18th-century France. Pullman bread, for the record, got its name because it was served in Pullman Railway cars that used to crisscross the country. The bread was baked in lidded square pans in the compact kitchens that rode the rails.

Nowadays, small batch white Pullman bread is nearly extinct, replaced by large batch white breads. These large batch breads, with their extended shelf life and unnatural softness, just don’t have the body of small batch breads. To that point, Pullman bread is perfect for your morning toast, fried egg sandwich, or for the ultimate hot roast beef sandwich. (Don’t worry, I’ll do a blog post about that sandwich in the future. In the meantime, try my recipe for braised short ribs, whip up some mashed potatoes and a simple gravy for the best old-school open face hot roast beef you will ever have….)

Ham, cheese and an egg is mounted on the small batch pullman bread we make at Gateway Market.

Here is a great recipe for a French inspired ham sandwich. This recipe uses the best ingredients you can find – the better the ingredients, the better the sandwich. Just remember the battle cry often heard in my kitchens: “don’t get cheap on me, cuz!”

You will need:

  • 2 slices Gateway Market Pullman bread (per sandwich)
  • About 4-6 ounces sliced Niman Ranch ham (per sandwich)
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese (per sandwich)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Butter, softened
  • Gateway Market Alfredo sauce (about 3 tablespoons for each sandwich)
  • Grated Gruyere cheese (2 ounces per sandwich; you can also sub Comte, Ementhaler or Swiss).
  • 1 egg (per sandwich)

Preheat your oven to 400 (you can also use a toaster oven if you prefer).

When oven is heated, fire-up a griddle (or your George Foreman grill!).

Make sandwiches by spreading butter on one side of each slice of the bread. Spread Dijon mustard of the other side. Use sparingly  – the good stuff packs a punch.

Keeping the buttered side of the bread on the outside of each sandwich, place the desired amount of ham and Alfredo sauce on the sandwich, followed by a slice of the Swiss cheese.

Pullman bread, browning nicely on the griddle!

Close up the sandwich, then toast it on the griddle until it’s nicely browned (Our Pullman bread browns up great!)

Pullman bread, ham, Gateway Market Alfredo sauce and cheese ready for the oven.

Remove the sandwich(es) and place on a baking sheet. Cover with Alfredo sauce and grated cheese and place in a heated oven or toaster oven until cheese is melted (if using the toaster oven, cook until cheese browns.)

While sandwiches are toasting, fry one egg per sandwich, sunny side up. Once the sandwich emerges from the oven, top with an egg and dig in!

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