I have told you about the Boulangépicier on a few occasions before, and I continue to wildly enjoy the bread, sandwiches and pastries that they make. “Be” happens to be just a couple of blocks away from where my grandmother lives, and is thus conveniently on my way from and back to the metro when I visit her.
Just a few weeks ago (before they closed for the month of August, quite cruelly), I noticed a basket next to the register in which they offered little bags of six assorted mini-loaves. I instantly recognized them as the bread they use to make the famed Riviera sandwich skewer — olive bread, tomato bread and basil bread.
My combined weaknesses for sampler bags and all things miniature made this impossible to pass up.
I bought a bag, put it away in the freezer, and since then I have been enjoying the manifold pleasures of the following simple ritual. I find myself alone in the kitchen, hungry for a satisfying single-serve lunch that I could make and eat right this minute. I take one of the little loaves out of the freezer — it has to be a random choice otherwise I agonize over which kind I like best, this can take a while and the freezer door is open. I thaw the mini-bread in the microwave on low, then put it over the toaster for a little crisping-up on both sides. I slice the loaf in two, carefully using my extra-sharp bread knife on my nifty bamboo cutting-board.
After that, the filling really depends on what I have on hand (if you start with excellent bread it takes real dedication to mess it up) but my current favorite, as pictured above, is: basil bread, fresh cheese on the top half, fresh pesto on the bottom half, and a chiffonade of jambon de Bayonne in between — thinly sliced and not too salty.
Add to this a couple of ripe tomatoes, sprinkled with fleur de sel and flaxseed, and what you have before you is a very, very happy girl.