“Mangia is always looking for interesting bread for its sandwiches. Pullman bread may or may not be available where you live, but it is worth keeping an eye out for it. Also known as pain de mie, it has little or no crust,” describes Sasha Muniak, founder of Mangia. It is baked in long rectangular loaf pans with lids, which produce a dense crumb that is ideal for slicing. Which brings us to its name: The shape of the baking pans is reminiscent of the Pullman railroad car. If you can’t find Pullman bread, simply use another good-quality white bread, which should be readily obtainable.
Select a good baked country ham, and have it sliced a touch thicker than normal; you want to be able to bite into it. To maximize the overall effect of this lovely, simple combination be sure to use ripe avocados. Plan ahead and ripen hard avocados at home by placing them in a paper bag and holding them at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Lastly, creme fraiche always tastes better if you take it out of the refrigerator 2 hours before using it.
1 cup creme fraiche
1 large red onion
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes
2 heads Bibb lettuce
3 ripe Hass avocados
12 slices white Pullman bread
1 ½ pound sliced baked country ham
- Remove the creme fraiche from the refrigerator 2 hours before using it.
- Peel, trim, and thinly slice the red onion. Wash, trim, and thinly slice the tomatoes. Wash and dry the lettuce; separate the leaves pressing each one with the palm of your hand to flatten it. Whip the creme fraiche with a fork. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits; scoop the flesh into a bowl.
- Arrange the ingredients in a row in front of you on the counter. On each of 6 slices of the bread, layer ham, sliced tomatoes, avocados, sliced onions, and lettuce. Spoon a dollop of creme fraiche on the top. Cover with a remaining bread slice. Cut each sandwich in quarters, slicing from one corner to the opposite to form triangles, and serve.