This works well as a late night 'it’s-kind-of-past-bed-time-but-something- tells-me-we’re-a-bit-peckish’ diversion or as a sophisticated breakfast teaser: ‘It’s kind of time for lunch but something tells me we’re not all that hungry, just yet…’
For two you need:
¼ oz (I think that’s about 50g) of genuine Swiss Bündnerfleisch (avoid imitations and don’t settle for any cheap alternatives. It’s a specially air dried beef, often branded Grischun or Grisons or Grischa, and you can get decent quality pre-sliced packs imported from Switzerland). Make sure it’s cut so thin that you can read the mast head of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung through it.½ oz (I think that would therefore be about 100g) of gorgeous, ripe, red strawberries. Only strawberries with a colour nearly as red as the Bündnerfleisch are acceptable. They have to be fresh and should be organic. They certainly have to be large. Two (or four, if they’re small) thick slices of fresh, warm bread from the bakery. Fresh warm bread from the oven will do the trick, but you really want bread that comes close to being a work of art. Best is a simple Basel or Ticino bread, but if you can’t get any of these then insist on a good ciabbatta or farmhouse bread. Croissants, sliced toast and baguettes are a no-no.Fresh rich organic full cream butter. Margarine, low fat spreads and other rubbish: begone!
(I would never normally counsel against olive oil, but that doesn't go well with the strawberries, so use butter for a change.)
Black pepper from a pepper mill.A laid-back soundtrack. Best is a bit of easy jazz, chillout or lounge. Be careful with classical: though lovely, it can misfire badly. Many an hour of valuable ‘getting to know you’ time has been wasted discussing the merits of Brändel’s rendering of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto over Ashkenazy’s. (They’re both stupendous, take it as read.)
How to prepare Sebastian’s Swiss Strawberry Seduction:
Wear something altogether more comfortable. Some people find Swiss Calida cotton boxers and T-Shirt in plain white or plain black irresistible, but this is very much down to personal taste and predeliction.Put on laid-back soundtrack at a reasonable level. Remember: you’re not in a lift. You’re not in a night club either.Take the fresh warm slices of bread and put them on a wooden surface.Spread a generous but not excessive amount of your fresh organic full cream butter on both slices. If you’ve been told ‘no butter for me’, ignore them. (If you’ve been told ‘I’m on a diet’, it’s probably not worth persevering. Turn off soundtrack, switch on telly and watch the football instead.)Place half the Bündnerfleisch on the slices. You want all the bread and all the butter covered with approximately two layers of meat. Any more, you’re overdoing it. Any less, you’re stinting.Add two twists from the black pepper mill on each slice. No more. If it’s a big mill, one twist will do fine.Cut some of the strawberries in about halves or thirds. Place liberally on top of the Bündnerfleisch, but again, don’t overload. If necessary, fix with a cocktail stick, though that tends to look a bit Abigail’s Party. Remember you’re trying to be cool.Cut the slices into large just over bite-size pieces. Don’t go dainty. Dainty is not sexy. Go ‘open wide’ size. A stray strawberry staining a pillow is less of a disaster than a morning spent watching Kilroy. Is it Kilroy? I’m not sure: I don’t watch him.Put the larger-than-bite-size pieces on a white plate. White plates are best, but any other clean plate will do. Arrange any remaining strawberries and any remaining Bündnerfleisch casually around the plates. This is not the time to be uptight about this sort of thing (or anything, really), so don't attempt a beautiful presentation: they’ll look fine just as they are. Put plates on a tray. Forget cutlery, but add napkins. I hate it when people don’t provide napkins; there’s only this much finger-licking that passes as erotic.Resist temptation to dim the lights at this stage. That would be corny. Serve in a matter-of-fact but engaging manner with a very dry red or white wine, a decent champagne or a strong espresso, depending on preference, time of day and how well things are going.