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Perhaps a little puritan, but here is the best way to make a francesinha even more delightful
If I ever saw something displaying the title “How to eat a francesinha“, I would laugh. But mostly, as a Portuense, I would be intrigued. This is not about the etiquette of eating francesinhas, but about not complicating what is simple. As the francesinha could very easily be an overwhelming dish, we will bring some order to the table so that when you’re facing your meal, you’ll definitely make the best of it.
A steakless francesinha, please!
Línguiça, mortadella, fresh sausage and ham… the francesinha is meaty enough. Is there really a need for steak? No, there isn’t. No steak can shine through when concealed between a slice of ham and línguiça. Furthermore, the number of smoked meats on this sandwich will largely smother any of the steak’s contribution in terms of flavor and texture.
And hence comes the historic argument. In the 50’s – when the francesinha was allegedly invented – the price of beef steaks was through the roof, so inside the francesinha, you would find roasted pig instead of steak. In spite of the tradition not contemplating the use of steak, it has gained a lot of popularity, to the point of being almost an obligate requirement is every francesinha. Thus, don’t feel intimidated if you don’t feel like having francesinha with all the goods.
The sauce is to be seen
A francesinha without sauce, is like steak without blood. The sauce gives flavor and softens the texture. When a francesinha is served, the flaming hot sauce is only in intimate contact with the outer shell of melty cheese. But that contact is far from enough, and each mouthful must be profusely dipped in the sauce, which indeed will help to bind every ingredient in this dish. And if the initial plateful of sauce is not enough, just ask for more.
Don’t drown the chips in sauce
Chips (i.e. french fries) are the most common side for this dish. Notice that we’re not talking about boiled potatoes, or roasted potatoes, not even mashed potatoes. So, chips are the only and highly valuable crispy component in this dish (apart from the times when you’re served with squishy and mushy potatoes): having chips drowned in the sauce will not be too much of a help in keeping the crispy element alive.
Wine is not your best friend
Wine and francesinha don’t play along together. There is something in the sauce that completely wrecks any aromatic trace present in the wine. In the mouth, wine becomes sauce and the sauce becomes bad wine. The best drinking buddy for this dish is something light and refreshing (oh, and ice cold), that with every sip will clean your palate from the fire-born spicy sauce. It’s best if you choose beer, sangria or any soda.
We know that the francesinha is so pretty you just need to place something extra on top, and yes, a fried egg may seem just right (like the famous shrimp). However, the francesinha’s explosive environment is no place for an angelical and delicate ingredient such as the egg. For those who suffer from the dipping addiction, there is no better choice than the francesinha’s sauce.
Location, location, location
Something far more important than these 5 rules, is where you eat your francesinha. We will soon approach this question is an upcoming post.