Wednesday Food: Witbier with Croque, Monsieur!
Pumpkin Beer: Fall:: Spiced Ale: Winter
Maibock: Spring:: Witbier: Summer
We had a glimpse of summer this week, the warmth of which bled into my beverage selection. I’m not a lover of Belgian whites (witbiers) but I’ll refer to the bible on this one and only occasion and say Ecclesiastes 3:1 had it right (they were talking about beer, right?)
Ommegang’s Witte illustrates a traditional version of this ale– unfiltered, spiced with coriander and orange peel*, Belgian wheat and yeast. Theirs is subtly tart and less sweet than other versions. It’s an “easy” style for those transitioning into the beer world and I can think of many dedicated craft drinkers who would call Blue Moon and Hoegaarden their gateway beers. Bell’s boldly but successfully adapts it to the winter months in their Winter White.
I chose croque-monsieur to join the Witte, because it’s still too cool for the simple salads and seafood that usually accompany this lighter range of beers. The recipe comes from Clotilde Dusoulier of internet food fame. Her take on the French classic is baked in the oven, rather than fried, and forgoes the béchamel on top. This makes for a slightly less heart-stopping interpretation and better suits the weight of the beer. Recipe after the jump.
*Beer snobs will slap that fruit garnish out of your hand but I say do as you will.
From Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier
Makes 4 sandwiches
- 8 large slices good-quality white or multigrain sandwich bread
- 3 Tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup freshly grated Comté ir Gruyère, about 3 1/2 ounces
- 6 ounces thinly sliced brine-cured ham
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
- Working on a large cutting board, spread the bread slices with butter. Slice off and discard the crusts of the bread (or leave them out to dry and mix in a blender for breadcrumbs.) Flip the slices on the cutting board so the buttered sides face down. Divide the cheese among all the slices, top half of the slices with ham, and sprinkle with pepper. Assemble the slices into sandwiches. Transfer to baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until the sandwiches are golden on top. Flip the sandwiches and bake a further 5 minutes.
Spread mustard for extra flavor or top it with an egg sunny side up for croque-madame.
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