Friday, April 8, 2011

Grilled Cheese Month: Grilled Ham, Cheddar & Tomato

The grilled cheese is not a fancy sandwich.  It's actually quite rustic, bread grilled in a pan with butter and some cheese.  And yet it's so fabulous that with the resurgence of comfort food in the last few years it's because quite popular.  You can get just about anything on a grilled cheese these days.  And while I love some of the crazy combinations that are out there, sometimes you just need to stick with a classic.  The ultimate classic is white bread and kraft slices, that's what I grew up on, but as an adult my classic is slightly more refined but far from fancy.  I love grilled ham & cheese with tomato.  I mean I guess I could take or leave the tomato, but I'm a firm believer that tomato makes everything better.

When I was at the grocery store yesterday I was so excited to finally find some great looking beefsteak tomatoes, that were greenhouse grown here in Canada.  Unless I need a specific veg for a specific dish that I don't want or feel I can substitute, I always try to buy vegetables that are grown in Canada.  The winters can feel pretty long living only on my stores of home canned plum tomatoes, so to see these lovely ripe tomatoes from Canada made my day.  Are they as nice as the sun kissed ones we get at the end of the summer? No, but they were damn good and made my sandwich all the better.

Grilled Ham, Cheddar & Tomato
makes 1 sandwich

2 slices of whole wheat brioche
1-2 slices beefsteak tomato
3 thinly sliced of all-natural ham - my local Loblaw sells a delicious slice ham from Beretta Ranch
4 slices old white cheddar
honey mustard or Nance's mustard
a few Tbsps butter, at room temperature

1.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium low heat.  On one slice of bread spread some mustard, top with 2 slices of cheese, ham, tomato and the rest of the cheese.  Spread some more mustard on the other slice of bread and place it mustard side down on the sandwich.
2.  Spread half of the butter on the outside of the top side of the sandwich.  Carefully place buttered side down in the heated skillet.  Grill gently until the bread is nicely toasted and golden brown, this will take about 5-10 minutes. Just let it be and let it cook slowly, it's the key to melting the cheese.
3.  While the first side is toasting, carefully spread the rest of the butter on the top slice.  When it's ready, carefully flip the sandwich with a spatula and your hands.  Let cook slowly about another 5-10 minutes.  If you have a grill press place it on top of the sandwich to press it down, if not just press periodically with the back of your spatula.  The pressure will help melt the cheese and toast the other side well.
4.  Once the sandwich is fully toasted, remove to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

I would happily eat this sammie every day.  If you don't have the time or desire to make your own bread, any high quality light wheat bread will do.  But spring for a nice quality ham, one that's not all slimy and neon pink, it makes all the difference.

What grilled cheese's have you had so far this month?


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