When most Americans think about French bread, they imagine a long, thin baguette. But the French bread universe is much larger than that. The Poilâne Bakery has an incredible assortment of interesting baked goods, kitchen products, books and ideas and they ship around the world. There is something about being able to get wood fired oven baked bread from Paris that has me hooked.
Recently, before two major winter storms, I ordered a loaf of gingerbread and rye bread. I have always enjoyed ginger snaps and ginger candy, but had never seen a loaf of gingerbread before, let alone tasted one. I jumped in and made my order.
I had been reviewing recipes in Bronte Aurell's cookbook "The Scandi Kitchen" which called for rye bread. When I placed the order I thought I would receive the loaves in 2-3 days, as I have in the past. But because of bad weather I did not receive them for a full six days later. The bread finally did arrive and amazingly was still good- not stale at all. I unpacked it and refrigerated it for a working photo shoot on the following weekend.
The first recipe was the basic American Standard- grilled cheese hors d'oeuvres. I had some fancy English cheddar. The rye loaf came thinly sliced so we used the Poilâne secret of toasting two pieces of rye back to back in the toaster to maintain the soft inside and crunchy outside, thus preserving the Nicer Slicer impact.
The French rye bread was sweet and dense - very different from an American rye. The hors d’oeuvres were excellent. (PRO TIP:) Put the crunchy side of the toast on the inside of the sandwich and let the soft side soak up the butter and brown slightly in the pan.
The next recipe was roast beef and crunchy onions hors d’oeuvres. Crunchy onions are a Norwegian staple - you can buy them in most specialty groceries.
Again we used the Poilane trick to toast the little rye toasts back to back. I made some Remoulade Sauce (see below.) and buttered each toast (soft side up) with the sauce, applied a few arugula leaves, thin sliced deli roast beef, cherry tomatoes, grated horseradish and crunchy onions. These were great - the remoulade sauce flavors lingering like a good bottle of wine.
Now we were on a roll. We almost ate all the props before we remembered to take a shot of the horseradish root and remoulade sauce!
The last hors d’oeuvre of the day was an egg and whitefish roe concoction on rye. Again, sticking with the Nicer Slicer impact (soft doughy on one side - crunchy on the other), we used the Poilâne Secret to get the same effect. I started with soft side up, remoulade sauce, baby spinach, sliced hard boiled eggs, whitefish roe and chopped chives. Another smash hit.
To round it all off we sliced a couple pieces of gingerbread loaf and toasted them, then cut those in half in the Nicer Slicer. Soft side up, butter, a healthy amount of high quality raspberry jam- it was out of this world yummy!
I encourage you to order some bread from Poilâne to go with your Nicer Slicer. I suppose I am biased, but to me the French are some of the world’s great chefs and eating bread baked in the ancient style is, if you like bread, a special treat. Bakeries in France are a mainstay of everyday life. Taste the bread and you will know why.
2 oz. carrots chopped
2 oz. cauliflower chopped
1 oz. white cabbage chopped
1 oz. deli dill pickles chopped
1 TBS capers
1 TBS chopped shallot
1 tsp chopped chives
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp mustard
1tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 TBS maple syrup
Pulse in a food processor
Add 2/3 cup of good quality mayonnaise
7 TBS sour cream
Pulse again in food processor
Please let us know if you make this recipe and what you thought of it in the comments below.
"Hors D’oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into 40 pieces."