Gourmet Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich
|Gourmet Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich|
This is the second riff on the basic grilled ham and cheese….only this time made upscale by use of superior flavored ham and cheese and topped with a glorious fried egg ….yum! For the previous grilled ham and cheese recipe see “Grilled Cheese, Bacon & Tomatillo Sandwich” posted at http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2013/02/grilled-cheese-bacon-tomatillo-sandwich.html.
In this recipe, we will be using Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. Prosciutto could be easily substituted for Serrano ham. Prosciutto is a raw Italian style ham, the curing of which is done through a dry salting method using the leg or thigh portion of the pig. It is covered in salt for approximately four weeks; it is then washed and allowed to dry for around six months or more. Serrano Ham is a Spanish style of ham, which is generally aged and cured at a high altitude. It is done in a similar way with the salting usually only lasting two weeks and the final aging being anywhere from 6-18 months.
If you have never had Manchego cheese, you are in for quite a treat. It is made in the La Mancha region of Spain, (home of Don Quixote!); from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed. Official cheese is to be aged from between 60 days and two years. Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture with a white to ivory-yellow color. The cheese has a distinctive buttery, nutty flavor and pairs beautifully with Serrano Ham.
- 8 slices of peasant or Tuscan bread
- 6 oz thinly sliced Serrano Ham or Prosciutto
- 2 oz Manchego cheese, shaved (½ C)
- 2 Tb unsalted butter (divided)
- 2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 4 large eggs
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Lay the bread slices on your work surface. Arrange Serrano ham and Manchego cheese evenly on 4 slices Tuscan bread, and then close the sandwiches.
|Layering the cheese and ham|
In a large skillet, melt 1 Tb butter in 1 Tb of olive oil in the skillet. Brush the sandwiches on 1 side with the melted butter and oil, then add to the skillet, buttered side up. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 250-degree F oven.
|Toasted to a golden brown|
Melt the remaining 1 Tb butter and 1 Tb olive oil in the skillet. Crack in the eggs and cook over moderate heat until the whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Top each sandwich with an egg and season with salt and pepper.
|Now with the egg and an Arugula/tomato salad|
We love this sandwich with a cup of soup and/or a small salad. In this case, the salad was a mix of arugula & tomatoes. After mixing in a small bowl, add 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. That’s it! Toss and place next to the sandwich. A wonderful Spanish wine would serve best. I love Tempranillo, as seen here, but if inclined for a white wine, try white Rioja, a dry sherry or any sparkling wine, such as Cava. Other options: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais.