French Picnic Sandwiches

Serves 2 to 4

A Jambon Beurre is a French lunchtime staple that consists of nothing more than a crusty baguette, good ham and salted european butter. Sometimes shaved gruyere, a slick of Dijon mustard or sliced cornichon makes an appearance, but the ingenuity of this sandwich is in its simplicity. The key is to buy the very best version of each ingredient. In this riff on the iconic Jambon Beurre, we mash our softest medjool dates into the sandwich. The sweetness of the dates play nicely with the salty ham, funky gruyere cheese and creamy butter. Assemble your sandwiches in advance and pack them up for your next outdoor excursion—they sit well in your beach bag or picnic basket. 


  • One 18- to 20-inch baguette, halved lengthwise
  • 4 Tablespoons salted european butter, at room temperature
  • 6 Soft Rancho Meladuco medjool dates, pitted (see Note)
  • 4 ounces aged Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound thinly sliced quality ham (see Note)

Spread a generous layer of butter on one half of the baguette. On the other half of the baguette, use a fork to mash the dates into a chunky paste. 

Arrange the thinly sliced Gruyere on the bottom half of the sandwich, then top with ribbons of ham. Close the sandwich and cut in half crosswise. Serve right away or wrap in parchment paper and enjoy later. 

NOTE Use your softest, most mashable dates here—our “grinder” dates are great for this recipe. If your dates are too firm, place them in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes before draining and pitting.

Jambon de Paris, a moist, wet-brined ham, is the ideal choice for this sandwich, but hard to find outside of Europe. When picking out the ingredients for your sandwich, look for a thinly sliced boneless cured ham that’s light pink in color and still has the fat cap on it.

Recipe & photos by Julia Heffelfinger

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