2005. Melbourne, Australia. We’re about to head into the Yarra Valley for a wine tour, where we learned about the wine drinking ritual. Trouble is we’re starving because we didn’t have breakfast yet.1 We needed something to eat and fast, because the bus was about to arrive. We ducked in the only place we could find that was open. Little did I know that we’d eat something super tasty there.
Before I continue, there’s a couple things everyone should know about Australia. The first is that if you go around Christmas and New Year’s, you’ll have to plan around everything being closed. This is not the case in North America. Had that not been the case, we probably wouldn’t have eaten what we did.
The second thing is that Australians are total fucking assholes when it comes to coffee. As soon as you open your mouth and sound American,2 they promise silently to themselves to not be helpful. They just stand there with an smug, mock patient expression while you confusedly look over the menu. That’s right there’s a menu. You can’t just say “Coffee,” and expect action. And it’s a massive barista conspiracy. No one serving coffee will help you out. If you’re lucky, you know a coffee drinking ex-pat who can show you the ropes.3
Anyway, the missus notices something on the menu: Ham, Cheese, Tomato on a Croissant. Sounds good. We both give it a go. Oh man!
It sounds completely trivial, right? Ham, Cheese and Tomato on a Croissant then cooked on a griddle. It’s just a fancy-ass grilled cheese. But it always satisfies.
I think I like it because I associate it with that day, which is easily one of the most fun days I’ve had. It’s essentially a sensual shorthand for that day, a great food moment. It could be the crunchy, buttery croissant too.
You’re probably thinking this is just a sandwich, anyone can make one, why is this even a topic on such a great blog? Now, now. While it’s true that a sandwich is a little pedestrian, and it’s quite simple to make, that doesn’t mean it’s not super delicious. Plus, there’s nuance in sandwich construction.
The most important rule of sandwich making is keep the wet away from the bread. So buffer tomatoes, pickles and what not with drier things like cheese and meat. A second thing to consider for cooked sandwiches, is that you need something to help keep the sandwich together. Melty cheese makes the perfect glue, which is why these bad boys sport two slices a piece.
Finally, if you’re cooking a lot of these, you want to pay attention to the heat of the pan. A burnt anything tastes yucky. A good rule of thumb is take the heat down a notch from medium for every round.
Makes 2 sandwiches
- 2 croissants
- 1/2 tomato, sliced ever so thinly
- 2 slices black forest ham, or similar deli meat
- 4 slices havarti cheese
Slice open the two croissants length-wise and lay open on a cutting board. On both pieces of the croissant, but one slice of cheese. You may need to break it up to cover the croissant.
On one piece, place the tomato and ham. Put the piece with just the cheese on top of the ham, so it looks like, you know, a sandwich. Butter both sides of the sandwich.
Put a pan on medium. Once hot, put the sandwiches in. Be careful not to burn the sides. Wait until the cheese is melted before flipping, two to three minutes.
Once both sides are browned and the cheese is melty, remove from the pan. Serve warm.
- That’s brekkie in Australia. [↩]
- Smart Australians that deal with a lot of tourists know to ask anyone from North America if they are Canadian first. Apparently, Canadians get all hot and bothered if they’re asked “Are you from the States?” [↩]
- Traveling to Australia? I think I eventually settled on a Long Black, but it might have been the Short Black. [↩]