One Baguette, 3 Ways

If there's one thing I love about living in France, it's the simple please of a fresh, warm baguette. On my walk home from work each day, I notice that just about every other person has one, if not several, loaves tucked under an arm or peeking out of a bag. At first I found this amusing, like some sort of caricature of French culture come to life. Now I'm one of those people, rushing home with my own freshly baked baguette in tow. 

As I near my apartment, making my way back up the hill, I'm already thinking about dinner. I'm usually starving by the time I get home, but I know that as long as I have a baguette, I'm already halfway to dinner. 

Here are three equally fast and delicious ideas for turning half a baguette into dinner:

1. French Bread Pizza. This is easily one of my favorite dinners. Ridiculously fast and easy, and perfect for those nights when all you want is a pizza, which is at least once a week for me. It's also a great way to use the other half of a day-old baguette. Slightly stale bread actually makes a better "crust." Just slice in half and top with whatever you happen to have on hand (broccoli, saucisson and Beaufort in my case). Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, or about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. SO GOOD.

2. Salade Lyonnaise. This is the kind of salad that even anti-salad people will like (I'm looking at you, Danielle). I still remember my first time trying a bouchon here. The starter was a massive salad (right up my alley) which honestly would have sufficed for the entire meal. Crisp greens topped with bacon, crispy bread "croutons" and two poached eggs. The yolk from the egg mixed with the vinaigrette for the best dressing ever. 

3. Shakshuka (a.k.a. Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce). Unlike the first two, this dish is best served with a fresh baguette for dipping. Because who needs a fork when you can use bread to scoop up the extra sauce?

Ta-da! Almost-instant dinner gratification, all beginning with half a baguette.