Enclosed in crispy bread with gooey Swiss cheese, a dollop of chutney and a swipe of Dijon, this classic toastie is a great use for leftover Christmas ham.
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Preheat grill to medium-high. Spread the butter evenly over each side of the bread. Place half the bread slices on a baking tray. Cook under the grill for 2 mins or until toasted.
Turn bread slices over. Spread the toasted slices with mustard and top with the ham and cheese.
Spread chutney over the remaining bread and place, chutney-side down, over the cheese. Place under the grill and cook 2-3 mins or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Transfer the toasties to serving plates. Serve with extra chutney.
With crispy golden bread filled with gooey cheese and smoky ham, a cheese and ham toastie is one of the most popular comfort foods around. Where some of our favourite nostalgic comfort dishes like a creamy pasta bake or pot pies require a bit of prep and cooking, ham cheese toasties can go from a thought to a reality in under ten minutes. There is no better time to celebrate this culinary classic than at Christmas when leftover ham abounds. A toasted ham and cheese sandwich makes an excellent breakfast, lunch or light dinner served with leftover potato salad or as an accompaniment to a simple tomato soup. Either way, make sure to serve them piping hot and see who can get the longest cheese stretch.
Combining ham and cheese with bread seemingly cropped up in different parts of the world in the early 1920s. Although the Italian panini had been around since the 1600s, France’s croque monsieur, America’s Monte Cristo and the Cuban sandwich all seemed to coincide with the invention of sliced bread. You’ve probably heard the legend of the sandwich: the Earl of Sandwich in Kent, south-west England, was too busy gambling to sit down to a formal meal, so he asked his servants to place it between two slices of bread. How sandwiches came to see heat is anyone’s guess, but the term toasties – originally just a cheese sandwich baked in the oven until melted – is also very English.
We believe the best ham cheese toastie is made with white bread, whether bought sliced or cut yourself so you decide the thickness. There’s something about the pillowy soft texture of white bread that seems to soak up butter and become super golden and crispy. The secret to our ham and cheese toasted sandwich recipe is buttering both sides of the bread. As well as adding flavour, this allows the ham and cheese to cling to the bread and creates the golden exterior. Use unsalted butter and add a sweet tomato chutney to balance the saltiness of the ham and cheese. We cook our ham and cheese sandwiches under the grill, but you could also use a sandwich press or jaffle maker. or go old-school and fry them in a pan, pressing down with a potato masher until firm and oozy. While cheddar is a traditional choice, we’ve gone for Swiss cheese in our ham and cheese toastie recipe for its slightly nutty flavour and amazing melting properties.
There are a few ham toastie ideas that can dress up your seemingly humble sandwich. Cut off the crusts after grilling and serve scattered with micro herbs of finely chopped parsley. Or, for a gourmet ham and cheese toastie, use gruyere – the Queen of Swiss cheeses. Make ham, cheese and tomato toasties and wrap your sandwich in baking paper and you have a snack on the run. Want to fill your Christmas ham toastie with leftover chopped roasted pork? Add pickles and you have the classic Cubano. Those scraps from your cheese platter can also be used instead of the Swiss cheese – cheddar, taleggio and blue cheese all complement the smoky taste of the ham.