Would this be a good place to admit that I only moderately enjoy sandwiches? I know, what kind of monster says such things! But, wait, come back. What I mean is, it’s the proportions: too much bread, too little filling. The obvious solution would be Dagwoods or sandwiches from one of those Jewish delis that are taller than your glass of Cel-Ray, but what if you didn’t want to have to unhinge your jaw just to take a bite?
My solution, as ever, is to serve them open-faced, piled high and with ideal proportions. If we were in Paris — and oh, I wish I were — we’d call them tartines. My brain is clearly already there because I modeled this “toast” on a croque monsieur (which I just learned, to my delight, translates as “gentleman crunch”), those cheese-coated, pan-fried ham and cheese sandwiches with frico for miles. I’m partial to the forestier-style croque at Buvette, where mushrooms take the place of ham and there’s a thick, Dijon-rich bechamel underneath (where a cold sandwich might enlist mayo or aioli). My open-faced version uses a whole-grain sourdough bread as a foundation and so much cheese on top that it spills down onto the baking sheet and lifts off in crispy flakes. I honestly don’t know why we’d ever want to eat anything else.