Friday, September 30, 2011

Gruyère cheese the key to
Grilled Ham, Cheese and Pickle Sandwiches

On the “cheese” episode of the Food Network show The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Ina Garten talked about a grilled cheese sandwich she loves at one of her favorite restaurants.
   The sandwich’s key ingredient, which the Barefoot Contessa TV show host felt was the key to its deliciousness, was Gruyère cheese.
   Garten is right about the power of Gruyère to make a grilled cheese sandwich exceptional. Gruyère is the key ingredient in this terrific recipe: Grilled Ham, Cheese and Pickle Sandwiches (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   Gruyère, a hard yellow cheese, gives these sandwiches a lovely saltiness. Its flavor is backed up by mozzarella and goat cheese.
   The recipe calls for bread-and-butter pickles, and includes a recipe to make these at home. However, in the interest of time, we used store-bought bread-and-butter pickles (thinly-sliced, round pickles.)
   The recipe also calls for aged goat cheese that can be grated. Since we were unable to find this, we used regular goat cheese and crumbled it.
   It’s a must to cook these sandwiches in a buttered skillet as the recipe directs, not a sandwich or panini press. The bread will get the comforting golden color people associate with a good grilled cheese sandwich.
   Slices of sourdough or white bread are spread with mayonnaise on both sides.
   Grated mozzarella, Gruyère and goat cheese are combined in a bowl. Four slices of bread are sprinkled with half the cheese mixture, and then topped with pickles and slices of prosciutto. This is topped with the remaining cheese and covered with the remaining bread.
   Butter is melted in a skillet, and the sandwiches are cooked for nine to 10 minutes per side.

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