SILVER SPRING, MD-February 18: Meats being house-cured at Urban Butcher restaurant in Silver Spring, MD. (Photo by Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
Food - Drink
Francesinha: Portugal's Overstuffed Sandwich
From a comforting grilled cheese to an herb-filled banh mi, there's a sandwich for every craving, and if you love meat, look no further than the Portuguese francesinha. Loaded with sausages, Portuguese ham, and steak, it's fair to say that this sandwich is a meat lover's dream, and that's before we even get into the other delicious toppings.
Besides the meat, a francesinha is also covered in cheese, a spicy tomato beer sauce, and a fried egg, often served with fries as the ultimate hangover cure. It was invented by Daniel Silva of the city of Porto, also the home of Port wine, which is not only great served alongside the sandwich, but makes its way into the sauce as well.
"Francesinha" means "little French girl" in Portuguese, and it was Silva's time in France that led him to create a Portuguese version of a croque monsieur, or French ham and cheese sandwich. He debuted his creation at his restaurant Regaleira in 1953, which is still open, and many Porto restaurants now sling sandwiches that are not "little" at all.
A francesinha's spicy beer sauce may contain lard, onion, tomatoes, beef stock, Port wine, and spicy Piri-Piri sauce. The meats are often cooked in sausage fat and then stuffed into toasted bread with cheese, sauce, and a runny fried egg, and though this sandwich is always a fork-and-knife affair, it can be eaten at any time of the day.