Sirena Tuna Francesinha

Sirena Tuna Francesinha

The Francesinha (meaning ''Little Frenchie'' in Portuguese) is Portugal's decadent answer to the croque-madame. This meat-filled sandwich is topped with cheese, smothered in a beer-based sauce and served with Batatas Fritas.

  • Prep:20 Min
  • Cook:40 Min
  • Yields:2 Servings
  • Effort:



Francesinha Sauce

Batatas Fritas (Fries)


  1. Season the veal steak with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Trim the veal steak into two squares the same size as the bread. Roughly chop any offcuts.
  2. For the sauce, place the speck in a large deep-sided frying pan and warm over medium-high heat. Cook until the fat has rendered and the speck is nicely crisp. Remove the speck from the pan and set aside but leave the fat in the pan.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the veal steaks in the same pan and cook for 1 minute each side until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  4. Brown the veal off-cuts in the same pan, add the veal off-cuts and cook until nicely browned – you want to get some nice caramelisation on these as they will be used for your sauce base. Push the veal to one side of the pan.
  5. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the onion and bay leaf, season with sea salt, and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant, the onion has softened and darkened on the edges. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Return the speck to the pan, add the beer and bring to the boil, scraping up any cooked-on bits. Continue to boil until almost evaporated. Add the passata, water and chilli flakes, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes – it should change to a deep red colour. Strain the sauce, discarding the solids, and keep the sauce warm.
  7. For the fries, julienne the potato into short matchstick-sized fries. Spread out on a tray lined with paper towel, cover with more paper towel and dry as much as possible. Heat the vegetable oil in a large deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Add the fries, in batches, and cook until nicely golden and crisp. Drain well on paper towel. Toss well in the parsley, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep warm.
  8. Butter the outside of the bread slices. Arrange the tuna on the non-buttered sides, on half of the slices, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then arrange the ham (trimming to fit) and pan-fried veal steaks on top, then sandwich with the remaining slices, buttered side up.
  9. Preheat the grill to high. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat or a sandwich press on high, add the sandwiches and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes or until nicely toasted. Remove from the heat.
  10. Arrange the cheese slices on top of each sandwich, allowing them to overlap and overhang the sandwich by 1 cm (trimming if necessary) – they will melt over the sides. Place the pan under the grill and toast until the cheese has melted.
  11. Pour the sauce into individual serving plates with a shallow lip. Carefully transfer the sandwiches on top of the sauce. Serve with the fries on top and pickles on the side.