This Classic 3-Ingredient Sandwich Is A Parisian Staple

What would you do if you were in Paris for a single day? The city of lights offers many things for curious visitors, and Take Walks recommends seeing the Eiffel Tower, exploring the artsy Montmartre neighborhood, walking by the river Seine, or maybe catching a glimpse of that famous Mona Lisa smile in the Louvre. And after all that walking and sightseeing, hunger will surely set in, so the next question is what to eat in Paris. Although the city has too many delicacies on offer, whether in bistros, more formal restaurants, or food stands, many people opt for classic, inexpensive, and portable sandwiches. 

Food Timeline notes that the term sandwich was coined in England and was "attributed to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich." But what type of sandwiches do the French typically eat? You might think that it's the French dip sandwich, consisting of French bread, roast beef slices, cheese, and meat drippings, but you'd be wrong because that regional specialty actually originates from Los Angeles (via Britannica). Or is it the delectable Parisian croque-monsieur, made with layers of ham and cheese sandwiched between slices of bread before the whole thing is baked or fried (per The Culture Trip)? Although both of these sandwiches are great, one other sandwich made with only three ingredients is a Parisian staple and you'll want to make it every day of the week.

A jambon-beurre sandwich is made with a traditional baguette, high-quality butter, and ham

Ever heard of jambon-beurre? If the answer is yes, then you already know that simplicity is the key to perfection. Vice reveals that the beloved Parisian sandwich dates back to the 19th century when it was first made in the city's Les Halles fresh food market. Just like back then, it's made in much the same way today, and three ingredients are all that are necessary to assemble it: a crusty, freshly baked baguette, butter, and slices of Parisian ham. A whopping 1.28 billion jambon-beurre sandwiches are sold in France annually — and for good reason. 

The traditional baguette for the sandwich should be hand-shaped and made with a sourdough starter. The butter should be of high quality, light to dark yellow in color, and made in France, or, for the best results — made in Normandy (via Frenchologie). And the ham shouldn't be taken from the shoulder but from the thigh. The baguette is sliced, buttered on both sides, and then stuffed with ham slices.

Nothing else is needed because this classic combination is as good as it gets, but a few cornichons are sometimes served on the side as accompaniments (via 196Flavors). So when in Paris, do as the Parisians do and have a taste of this simple and delicious sandwich that proved its worth a long time ago.