Monday, November 22, 2010

Toasted Ham & Cheese

Toasted Ham & Cheese should not be confused with Grilled Ham and Cheese. These two sandwiches are completely different.

While studying abroud in Austria, I discovered open-faced sandwiches. I was an amatuer cook and I was made to cook and shop for all of my meals. The thing about Austria is that the refrigerators are the size of a postage stamp so you are supposed to stop at the market daily--and cook fresh things. I shared our postage-stamp sized fridge with 2 others. Sandwiches were fast, easy, and I could try the fantastic cheeses and meats that could be found in the deli section (many of which I was unsure of the English translation).

Toasted sandwiches are fast, delicious and can be made in infinite combinations. Sometimes my sandwiches were fancy--bread rubbed with butter and garlic and then some delicious full-fat cheese and meat that you can only get abroad. And sometimes they were ridiculously simple.

This afternoon, I had a very Austria kind of day. I went hiking in the morning, had breakfast (pancakes are not as filling as I want them to be) and came home for a 2pm meeting. Around 4 I was starving. Knowing dinner wasn't going to be soon, I made myself a toasted sandwich. Last night I happened to buy a fresh loaf of Italian French Bread (this is the wider version of french bread, with a crispy crust and soft white inside). The sandwich was exactly what I needed to tie me over and it was delicious too!

Toasted Ham & Cheese
Fresh Italian or French bread (ok so you could use sandwich bread, but then you might want to reduce your cooking time)
Cheese of choice (I used colby jack)

Preheat Oven to 450
1. Slice bread to desired thickness (but thicker than sandwich bread)
2. Layer on ham and then cover the ham with slices of cheese
3. Bake on the top shelf in whatever pan you have on hand (that cake pan was out) for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. The bread on the bottom will be slightly toasted. Eat warm.
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Nadine said...

Mom/Grandma Bev was a toasted cheese fan -- she didn't make grilled cheese. In her version (with regular bread)the cheese was topped with bacon. Always a challenge to make sure that the bacon gets thoroughly cooked. She would make a whole sheet pan of these as a family meal.

I have to admit, I am more of a grilled cheese fan, but toasted cheese is a fond food memory.

Carrie said...

I didn't know that! Bacon would be a delicious addition...