Wednesday, April 29, 2009
April happens to be National Grilled Cheese Month. Since today is the penultimate day of the month, I figured I'd better get on with the honoring or I'd have to wait an entire year. It also coincided with the President's 100 Day mark so I thought it was actually quite an appropriate day to pay my respects to (the Big) Cheese. [OK, that was lame but I couldn't resist.] So without further ado, I bid you my celebratory grilled cheese sandwich!
I've been daydreaming lately about frittering away the day in a charming little hamlet in Spain, feasting on Jamón Iberico and Manchengo cheese and, of course, washing it all down with a nice glass of Tempranillo. Since I couldn't actually get this direct from the source, I figured I would do my best to recreate it here in the form of a grilled cheese.
The fact that I had none of the needed ingredients in the house was no deterrent because I'm always looking for things to prolong my procrastination of work tasks. [I hope none of my clients are reading this!] I ran down to one of my favorite stores to pick up the necessary provisions. Since this is Santa Barbara and not Spain, I had to settle on Jamón Serrano, which I think you'd agree does not qualify as a crisis. Speaking of a crisis, I did double check that Spanish cured meats are not a source of swine flu, which I was grateful for. I could have gone with Manchengo but opted instead for the more complex Campo de Montalban for my cheese representative. And to add a little decadence to my grilled cheese — it was a celebration after all, I chopped up some fig almond cake. I recognize that cake is not your typical sandwich ingredient, but I was reminded of a quote by Marie Antoinette: "If the people have no bread, let them eat cake." I figured if you had both, you could eat them together, right? And this is more of a Fig Newton-like cake, which makes it almost healthy.
Well, it was delicious! All that was missing was my glass of wine, which even I had a hard time justifying at noon. But come 5 o'clock, you know what I'll be pouring to complete this observance.
Spanish Grilled Cheese
1 ciabatta roll or other country bread
3 oz thinly sliced Jamón Serrano or prosciutto
3 oz Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
2 oz Pan de Higo Almendrado (fig almond cake) or 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
Slice roll in half and lay cheese on both sides of bread. Add thinly sliced Jamón and fig almond cake and place on a hot panini press. Cook for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. (Alternatively, heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Place sandwich in skillet. Place another large skillet atop sandwich; place weights such as canned goods inside skillet on top. Cook sandwich until golden brown and cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side.) Yields: 1 sandwich.
Posted by SB in SB at 12:22 PM