The Proustian Ideal of a Ham Sandwich in NYC
For French sandwich shops in New York, jambon beurre ham on a buttered baguette is one of the most difficult, yet satisfying feats.
Jambon beurre, meaning ham-butter, or just ham on buttered baguette, might be the quintessential French sandwich. Its a staple for a picnic or a quick lunch with a tot of Beaujolais. And it sounds easy enough.
But, as Pierre-Antoine Raberin recalled, it prompted the chef Alain Ducasse to note that the simpler things can be most difficult.
Mr. Raberin, who owns LAmi Pierre, a new cafe in Midtown Manhattan, with the chef Eric Ripert, seconded that assessment, pointing out that the ideal jambon beurre say, what you might find at countless cafes in Paris or what his kitchen will prepare for you isnt easy to replicate at home.
Freshness and temperature are the keys, he said. At the cafe, which considers that particular sandwich its signature, baguettes come out of the oven every hour or so. The butter it uses, from an upstate farm, is notably rich about 85 percent butterfat (the supermarket standard is 80 percent) and kept soft and spreadable.
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