It’s National Croissant Day! Although it is most likely just a myth, the history of the croissant is a colorful tale full of adventure. In 1683, the Turkish Empire laid siege on Vienna, Austria. The Turks made several attempts to enter the city by force, but were unsuccessful, so decided to dig an underground tunnel. The bakers of Vienna, who worked in the basement storerooms, heard the sound of digging and alerted the army.
The bakers received high honors and thanks for their assistance in outwitting the Turks. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. After the Turks were defeated, it became custom to serve morning coffee with the crescent-shaped pastry!
The legend goes on to say that over a hundred years later, Marie Antoinette (an Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI) introduced the pastry to the French who dubbed it a “croissant.”
Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches by Giada De Laurentiis
4 (4-ounce) beef fillet steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices, at room temperature
2 cups arugula
1 cup (about 4 ounces) jarred roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced
Season the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks for about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Set aside for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice the steak, across the grain, into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a serrated knife, slice the croissants in half lengthwise. In 2 batches, place the croissant halves, cut side down in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until lightly toasted. Lay the Brie slices over the toasted croissant halves. Place about 1/4 cup of the arugula on the bottom halves of the croissants. Add the sliced steak. Arrange the red bell pepper on top of the steak. Top with the remaining arugula and add the top of the croissant. Serve immediately.
Credit: Punchbowl & Food Network