Saturday, July 30, 2016

on the hunt for ciabatta

There's a bakery at the Jamshil Lotte Mall complex called, simply, Le Pain (which is the French word for bread, not pain). I went there last night, hunting for ciabatta (chyuh-baht-duh), a firm, hearty, hole-y Italian bread that is wildly popular in some parts of the States. Ciabatta, tough as it is, is great for pan-frying; it can absorb a ton of heat from the pan without completely denaturing (try pan-frying a delicate French baguette on high heat and watch what happens). This makes it an almost perfect bread for concocting a variety of hot sandwiches, and I'm trying to craft just such a hot sandwich this weekend.

My sandwich is simple: shabu beef with chimichurri on buttered and pan-fried ciabatta. I've made the chimichurri; the beef can be prepped—from a frozen state—within minutes because it's sliced so thinly; all I need is the bread. I went to Le Pain last night and saw the shelves were empty. It was near 10PM, so that's not surprising for any decent bakery: most bakeries make their primary batches in the early morning and sell them throughout the day; a bakery with empty shelves at night has been doing something right. Anyway, I'm going back today because Le Pain is closer than Itaewon is, and I don't want to spend a lot of time either in a cab or on the subway. I want to buy the bread, take it home, fry it and the beef up, make a sandwich, and see how it is. If it's a success, I'm going to prep sandwiches to take to work and share next week. If it's not, well... I won't be sad about eating all that lovely shabu beef on my own. Anointed with chimichurri.

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