This Recipe includes
|(Optional) Salad mache or baby spinach|
Why we love it
The Jambon beurre is not not a sophisticated dish, but it is a perfect example of a simple, rustic French dish that never fails to please. Before the American burger came to France, it was the jambon beurre that reigned supreme. A simple sandwich it was meant as an easy lunch, to be put together quickly and eaten on the go.
Unlike the traditional Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches may need a bit more finesse to prepare, but the Jambon beurre sandwich is easy enough to be prepared by anyone, even a child. Jambon means “ham”, and beurre means “butter” and that is literally all it was.
The Jambon beurre has lost a bit of its allure in recent years due to the rise of the burger, and also because most French workers gained employee rights of access to a subsidized canteen. Nonetheless, it still remains quite popular, with original variations of the traditional recipe showing up in more upscale brasseries and cafés across France.
Types of Ham
There are several types of charcuterie hams that you can pick for your jambon beurre sandwich. All the hams are usually pre-cooked, salted or smoked.
|Types of meats||Description and Examples|
|Jambon blanc ou cuits||Cooked hams, which are the most typical types of ham. |
Eg: used in children’s ham sandwiches.
|Jambon cru||Salt-cured hams for less than 4 months. |
Eg: Ham from Bayonne, de Parme (prosciutto in italien), d’Auvergne, Serrano
|Jambon sec||Salt-cured hams for more than 4 months|
Eg: Ham from Ardennes, Ardeche, Corsica
|Jambon fumé||Salt-cured hams that are then smoked.|
Most jambon blancs and jambon cru also come in a smoked version.
|Saucissons||Salt-cured sliced sausages|
Eg: Rosette, chorizo, saucisson de Lyon, saucisson d’Arles
You can pick whichever type of ham you like. The traditional ham used is the most common jambon blanc, but I prefer to use jambon cru.
Types of Bread
The most common bread used in a jambon beurre is a baguette. But a baguette is not just a baguette. There are several types, with each French bread being different in appearance, texture, and taste.
A baguette classique is sometimes called the baguette parisienne (parisian baguette) or baguette blanche (white baguette). This is the baguette that you will most often see in supermarkets and grocery stores across France.
For more specialized baguettes, you may have to go to a boulangerie (bread bakery). Other types of baguette include:
- Baguette tradition – sometimes called baguette de campagne (country baguette) or baguette rustique (rustic baguette), it is made with a flour that doesn’t use additives. It also takes a longer time to rise and lasts longer.
- Baguette aux céréales – includes small amounts of cereals like barley, oats, rye, or corn baked in with the flour.
- Baguette aux graines – includes small amounts of grains like lin seeds or sesame seeds baked in with the flour.
- Baguette moulée – similar to the classic baguette, except the dough is poured into a mold, which generally gives it a more homogeneous appearance. (Usually for industrial breads.)
- Demi-baguette – the half baguette is half the length of a normal baguette, and is perfectly sized for sandwiches like the classic jambon beurre if you have a smaller appetite.
I like to use a baguette aux grains, but you can choose whichever you prefer.
Types of Butter
With a variety of hams and baguettes in France, you can imagine there are also several types of butter:
- Le beurre cru – raw or unpasturized butter
- Les beurres fin et extrafin – pasturized fine butter that is made within 72 hours of milk collection
- Les beurres salés et demi-sel – salted and semi-salted butter
- Le beurre tartinable ou facile à tartiner – easy-to-spread butter
- Les beurres allégé et léger – low fat butter
- Le beurre sec – dry butter whose fat content is 84%, 2 % points more than in standard butter
- Le beurre de baratte – a richer type of butter that includes cream
- Les beurres AOP – butter from 3 regions (Isigny butter, Charentes-Poitou butter and Bresse butter) which is protected by the AOP designation
The most popular type of butter in a jambon beurre sandwich is the lightly salted butter.
What to serve with it?
Since the Jambon beurre sandwich is usually served at lunchtime as a lighter meal, it is usually served by itself, or with a small salad. Other heartier options would be with a vegetable soup like mushroom soup or minestrone.
What drinks to serve with it?
French Jambon Beurre Recipe
- 1 baguette
- 2 tablespoons salted or regular butter
- 3-5 slices of ham eg. coppa, jambon cru, jambon blanc, etc.
- 4-5 slices of avocado (optional)
- Handful leaves of salad mache (optional)
- Cut the baguette lengthwise.
- Slather the butter liberally on the inside of the baguette.
- Add the ham and any optional ingredients inside and close the sandwich.
- Serve immediately.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !