At Panisse, a new sandwich-centric shop in Seoul’s Seorae Village that opened a little over three months ago, the bread takes center stage.
Slightly blistered on top, craggly and still warm from its stint in the oven, the flatbread acts as the ideal foundation for Panisse’s sandwiches.
“We make 3 kilos of bread a day,” owner Ryu Mi-jin said, explaining how a limited amount of bread is made from scratch.
Panisse90-3, Banpo 4-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul; (02) 537-3829; open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; sandwiches cost 11,000 won to 18,000 won, soup costs 6,000 won
Inspired by oven-baked flatbread sandwiches she tasted while studying in France for five years, Ryu turned to fougasse, a flatbread prevalent in southern France’s Provence, as the springboard for Panisse’s own variation on the age-old bread.
Water, fresh yeast and flour are used to make a dough that is then allowed to rest for an hour before getting brushed with olive oil, sprinkled judiciously with a smattering of rock salt and then baked to chewy goodness.
“We make the bread in the morning,” Ryu, 37, said.
Then, when an order rolls in, the bread is cut to size before a brief stint in the establishment’s masonry oven.
Panisse’s zucchini soup, made with zucchini and cream and topped with fresh basil, served with the establishment’s housemade flatbread
Panisse’s Paris Paris sandwich features herb-marinated medium-rare beef, fresh greens and onion confit and is served in warm flatbread. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
Sandwiches are assembled like hybrid roll-pita bread affairs, thanks to a little air pocket that forms when the bread is baked, so that tasty fillings can be tucked into the warm bread before being served on a hot plate.
Ryu revealed that popular sandwiches include the Paris Paris and the Tian.
Delicate slices of rosy medium-rare beef, naturally sweet onion confit and fresh greens form the backbone for the Paris Paris.
Ryu explained how the beef is marinated in herbs before being roasted whole in the oven to achieve that ideal medium-rare juiciness.
“We spread some whole-grain mustard on the bread,” Panisse chef Kim Tae-hwan, 27, added.
For the Tian, housemade ricotta and grilled eggplant, bell pepper, tomato and fresh basil are tucked into warm bread for a flavorful sandwich that lands bright and aromatic on the palate.
More sandwiches are in the works, Ryu revealed, including one that will feature pork and another that will feature hummus.
A daily soup is also on the menu at Panisse including one made with zucchini.
Vibrant, fragrant and fortifying, Panisse’s zucchini soup, which Kim revealed is made with zucchini and cream and topped with fresh basil, pairs wonderfully with the warm slices of flatbread that accompany it.
In addition to sandwiches, soups and other fare like salads, roast chicken and beef bourguignon, Panisse also sells its bread to go, so that diners can enjoy all that delicious flatbread at home.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)