Melted cheese has to be one of God’s greatest culinary gifts to mankind. I love it having lots of stringy, melty cheese in many different foods, but a grilled cheese holds a special place in my culinary heart. My mom made me grilled cheese for lunch in the summer sometimes, especially when we would swim in my grandmother’s pool. Grilled cheese was a good enough reason for me to get out of the pool for a few minutes. As a child, I loved me some kraft singles on white bread, grilled to perfection. Thank-you for me grilled cheese, mom!
I make my own grilled cheese nowadays with some fun additions. Here’s one of my favorite versions:
A Grilled Ham, Cheddar and Apple Sandwich
I like to get ingredients prepped before I start.
Then we get the pan just hot enough; the trick is to cook a grilled cheese on a low temperature. My current stove does not get very hot at low and medium, so I set my stove to medium. Meanwhile, start assembling the sandwich by buttering a slice of bread.
Now we add the bread, butter side down to the pan and layer on the cheese, apples and ham.
Since there is no cheese to stick the ham to the bread (which would be a great addition), I add a little dijon mustard which also compliments the apple and cheese flavors pretty well. I butter the top, making sure to stick the mustard side down to the ham and the butter side up. Adjust the skillet temperature if the bread is browning quicker than the cheese is melting.
Now it’s time for patience. Do not flip until you see the cheese melting down the side of the bread (unless of course you were impatient and turned up the heat–flip earlier in order to avoid burning the grilled cheese). This should take five minutes or more. Make sure you don’t over cook. An under cooked grilled cheese (even if some of the cheese has not completely melted yet) beats a burnt one any day! You may notice the bottom bread has shrunk a little, this is normal. After flipping, cook for another three to five minutes or until both pieces have shrunk to the same size.
I like to let the sandwich rest for a minute the cheese does not spill out onto the plate. Meanwhile, I dish myself up some sauerkraut. Yeah…sauerkraut is weird. Pinky purply sauerkraut…looks like it should be delicious, right? Well, they call it sauerkraut because it is very sour, more sour than I am willing to palate at this time. I was hoping to eat sauerkraut in order to get more beneficial bacteria, but I’ve decided it is a taste that will take a little while to acquire. I ate a few bites, but that was all I could handle for now.
Now I just cut the grilled cheese in half, so I can bite directly into the middle where I can taste the melty cheese…mmmmm my favorite part.
Here’s the recipe:
Grilled Apple, Ham and Cheese
Two pieces of bread (I used sprouted grain)
Sliced cheddar cheese- about one ounce (I used aged smoked NY cheddar)
1-2 tablespoons of softened butter
1/4 of a sliced granny smith apple
1 thin slice of smoked ham
1 teaspoon dijon mustard (more or less)
- Heat a skillet to low/medium.
- Butter one side of a piece of bread, lay it in the pan when the pan is hot.
- Layer the cheese, apple and ham.
- Spread one side of the other piece of bread with dijon mustard and the other side with butter. Lay the bread, mustard side down on the ham.
- Let the sandwich cook until the cheese melts down the side of the bread. You will see the bottom piece of bread shrink slightly. Make sure to adjust the skillet to make sure the bread does not burn! Flip the sandwich, you should hear a satisfying sizzle.
- Cook a few more minutes until you see the second piece of bread shrink up to match the first piece. Making sure the bread does not burn.
Enjoy as often as needed!