French Pressed-Brick Sandwich
A French Twist on a Magical Sandwich
Pressed brick sandwiches are a the king of sandwiches. They are made a day in advance and last several days in the fridge. You start with a hollowed out loaf of ciabatta bread and build a series of thin delicious layers, moistening periodically with an oil and vinegar dressing. The completed sandwich is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and set under a brick, a stone or a heavy cast iron skillet overnight. You want enough weight on the sandwich to press all of the delicious ingredients together. The final sandwich is sliced thinly or in small bite-size pieces. The result is a dense, flavor-packed treat. Read my post on How to Make a Pressed Brick Sandwich for the basic technique. For a variation, try my Italian Pressed Brick Sandwich.
For this pressed brick sandwich we use a variety of French and near-French ingredients, starting with brie, cornichons, prosciutto, ham, oven roasted tomatoes, artichoke pesto, fresh basil and cambozola cheese (which is a German cheese made from a combination of French-style brie and Italian gorgonzola.) We dress it with a walnut oil and vinegar dressing spiked with a bit of french Whole Grain Mustard.
Why This Sandwich is Magical
- It is extraordinarily delicious. Don't take my word for it, just give it a try.
- It is compact, dense and filling, making it the perfect sandwich for hiking, biking, skiing or any outdoor activity where you will need some extra fuel.
- It can be made a day in advance and lasts 4 - 5 days in the fridge. Some say it gets better with a few days to mellow and merge the flavors. One reader wrote in and said pressed brick sandwiches are perfect for her as she lives alone and can make lunch for a week with one sandwich.
- It is elegant enough to serve as an appetizer at a more formal event.
- It is delicious with a big glass of French Burgundy.
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Special Ingredients You Need for This Sandwich and Substitutes
- Artichoke pesto - or a olive tapenade.
- Cornichons - these little pickles are also called gherkins. In a pinch you could substitute sliced dill pickles.
- French whole -grain mustard - my favorite is Pommery, known in France as the mustard of kings.
- Champagne vinegar or a white wine vinegar.
- Walnut oil - or you can substitute olive oil.
- Prosciutto - you could substitute salami.
- Oven roasted tomatoes or you could substitute sun dried tomatoes
You can see this sandwich can get pretty pricey quickly. To keep cost down consider shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco as they both have most of the ingredients you will need at very good prices. And no, this is not a TJ's or Costco sponsored post. Just telling it like it is!
- 2 t French whole grain mustard, especially
- 1 T Champagne vinegar
- 3 T Walnut oil
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- ¼ pound brie
- ¼ pound cambozola cheese
- ⅓ pound thinly sliced ham
- ¼ cup artichoke pesto
- 30 cornichons sliced in half
- ¼ pound prosciutto
- 12 oven-roasted tomato halves
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- Put mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in walnut oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Slice the ciabatta loaf in half so you have two flat wide pieces. Place them on the counter cut-side up. Using your fingers remove as much of the soft inner-bread as you can, keeping the loaf in tact.
- Spread the brie on one half of the loaf and the cambozola on the other half. Take care to cover the inside of the loaf evenly. The cheese creates a moisture barrier that prevents the filling from making the bread soggy.
- Beginning with the half spread with brie begin building layers. Start with ham and spread the artichoke pesto on top of the ham. Add the cornichons and drizzle half of the dressing over the sandwich. Add a layer of prosciutto and then the oven-roasted tomatoes. drizzle with the remaining dressing and top with basil leaves.
- Place the bread spread with cambozola cheese on top of the sandwich and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Weight the sandwich down with something heavy: a brick, a cast iron skillet or a rock and place in the fridge over night.
- When ready to serve insert 28 toothpicks in the sandwich in 4 rows of 7 toothpicks, about 1½" apart. Slice between toothpicks.