May 14 2011
Our projected high for the day is a good 35 degrees cooler than it was just a couple of days ago. It seems we can never find the happy medium that would make a perfect spring day.
But, I have to confess, I’m okay with the cooler temperatures right now. The near-record highs we experienced this week…well, I’m just not ready for that, yet. Though “normal” weather right now would be my preference, I don’t mind getting to make a few more “cool weather” meals.
This sandwich is the perfect “grilled ham & cheese” for such weather: it’s filling, it’s satisfying, and a crisp salad rounds it out perfectly. A glass of wine wouldn’t hurt, either. Just sayin’.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, no doubt you are well aware of my love affair with Gruyere. Add a little Parmesan, and I’m in heaven.
Though I could do without the ham (I would love to substitute turkey – ham is just too salty for me), I adored this sandwich. If you’re a cheese lover, you must try it.
adapted from Barefoot in Paris
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot 2% milk (I use lactose-free)
1 teaspoon salt*
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed**
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced
Preheat oven to 400*F.
Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add the flour, stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Toast bread (either in a toaster, or by placing on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in the oven, then flip slices over and bake 2 more minutes).
Spread a thin layer of mustard on half the toasts, then a slice of ham, and a sprinkle of Gruyere. Top each with a plain toast and slather the sandwiches with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the sandwiches with the remaining Gruyere. Bake for 5 minutes, then place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.
*I find ham to be extremely salty, so a teaspoon of salt in the cheese sauce was too much for me, especially considering Parmesan is a salty cheese. Use caution when salting the sauce!
**Ina recommends Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread for this recipe. Unsure if I’ve ever purchased white sandwich bread in my life, I took her advice and was happy I did – the slices are small – perfect for a rich sandwich.