Sunday, October 18, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Ham & Cheese Sandwich?

There are so many great sandwiches, but Ham & Cheese may be the best-loved. After all, look at the classic variations: Croque-Monsieur and Croque-Madame (which are famous enough to have their own Wikipedia page!), Monte Cristo which makes me think of my college suitemate who ate one almost every Sunday at the restaurant where her boyfriend worked, and the Hot Brown which was featured on an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.

Croque-Monsieur and Croque-Madame are served in restaurants throughout Europe and are a safe bet when the menu is in a language you can't read! The Monte Cristo was apparently first served at Disney Land in 1967 at the Blue Bayou restaurant where it remains a favorite; it is now served at restaurants across the country. Hot Browns were created by the Brown Hotel in the 1920s and are sometimes made with turkey or turkey and ham. I originally had Hot Browns made only with ham and that's why I'm including them in my 'ham and cheese' list. You can find recipes for all these online from your favorite chefs.

If you're in the mood for a new sandwich, try our favorite ham and cheese:

These are appetizer-sized, but they're also good as a full-sized sandwich. These look a little wonky because they needed frilly picks to stabilize them . . . but, you get the general idea. Here's how they're made:

The Bread: pimento cheese rolls, split and toasted (any type of roll will do)

The Spread: a mixture of orange marmalade and pepper jelly, to taste (we like it a bit spicy)

The Fillings: shaved ham (Black Forest or pepper ham is a good choice), thin slices of white or yellow sharp cheddar, thin slices of apple with peel (something crisp and a little tart like Honeycrisp), and lettuce.

The Result: delish! A little smoky ham, a little sweet/peppery jam, some sharp cheese, and the crunchy apple . . . I'm getting hungry just typing this. Pair this with a cup of tomato soup and you have a great lunch or dinner. I'd love to hear about your favorite ham and cheese!

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