The Francesinha at Santa Francesina, Porto
The dish originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. With all things French cooking however a variant was born, add a fried egg to the mix and vola you have the croque Madame!
On a recent trip to Portugal I was introduced to something even more ethereal, there Portuguese take on the croque Mad koame but on such a whole other level, a meal (not a snack) by itself; the Francesinha!
According to Wikipedia, It is said that the Francesinha was invented in the 1960s. Daniel da Silva, a returned emigrant from France and Belgium, tried to adapt the croque-monsieur to Portuguese taste. Other versions date the Francesinha to the 19th century. It is a very popular dish in Porto and is associated with the city, although it can be sometimes found elsewhere in Portugal. A classic francesinha meal would include the sandwich, surrounded on a bed of chips doused in the famous sauce, and complemented with a fino, literally meaning thin or fine, which in this context refers to draught beer.
So in a vain attempt to recreate this magical sandwich in Singapore I set about making my Francesinha version 1.0.
The sandwich itself was great, while some recipes call for the bread to be not toasted I opted to shallow fry it in French butter (why? Because I can and there crispiness of the toasted bread would give the Francesinha another textural element).
The sauce, the component that defines the Francesinha was decent but could do with as little tweaking; I'll need to add a little more piri-piri for a spicier kick and use a lighter white beer (I wanted to try using a dark beer for more flavor).
So here's the recipe in its entirety, thanks to www.portugesediner.com/tiamaria I tweaked it slightly due to the lack of some ingredients and I covered the egg with the cheese and baking it in the oven: