A few years ago, my then 16-yr-daughter (she is now in college and training to be an Opera singer) wanted to go for a summer-long voice training program to a music conservatory in Nice, France. She was too young to go overseas by herself (or that’s how I felt back then) and so I accompanied her on this trip. So while she attended classes all day, I explored the city of Nice on foot. I don’t speak any French and I had heard some awful tales about how foreigners are received in France. However, I found the place most hospitable and the local people most generous in their advice (often in broken English) on what I should see and what I should eat. On a sunny day at the beach, an old lady recommended a small bistro in old-town Nice. I was served my lunch on an outdoor table, with a nice glass of wine and the waiter recommended the ham and cheese. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what he called the dish but here is my version of it (quite close to the original!)
1. Two sheets of frozen puff pastry (available in the freezer section of any supermarket)
2. ½ cup of grated gruyere cheese
3. ½ cup of grated white sharp cheddar cheese
4. A tablespoon of honey-mustard salad dressing
5. One egg to make egg wash
6. ½ lb of thinly sliced deli-ham
1. Heat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. On a cutting board spread out one sheet of puff pastry and roll a rolling pin over it to flatten it out.
6. Fold-over the four sides of the puff pastry.
7. Flatten out the second layer of puff pastry and cut it in strips with a sharp knife about an inch wide.
8. With the strips of puff pastry make a woven grid over the layer of cheese.
9. Pinch all the puff pastry strips tightly into the edges that had been folded over.
11. Place the pie (for lack of a better word) on a nonstick baking sheet (or parchment paper) and bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
12. Let it cool for 2-3 minutes after taking it out of the oven and slice with a serrated knife into any shape you like.