Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the all-time comfort foods—there’s something undeniably satisfying about the crisp, buttery grilled bread encasing the gooey, melted cheese. The classic grilled cheese with white bread and American cheese had its moments, but today, thanks to high-quality artisan breads and world-class cheeses that are available, it’s time to rethink the basics. Plus, adding a few twists ramps it up a bit more.
There’s nothing new about combining ham and Swiss cheese, but adding a handful of sautéed button mushrooms hikes the flavor quotient up a few notches, and using Gruyère adds even more flavor, notes chef and cookbook author Molly Stevens, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. For a French twist, she suggests adding 1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon (or a scant ½ teaspoon dried) to the mushrooms while sautéing, or use tarragon mustard.
This is a great way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day on April 12 or plan ahead for another way to use some leftover Easter ham.
Grilled Ham and Gruyère with Sautéed Mushrooms Sandwich
2 tbsp. butter, softened
4 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1½ cups)
4 slices rye or pumpernickel bread
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 oz. thinly sliced or shredded Gruyère cheese
4 oz. sliced baked ham
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté briskly, stirring, until golden and crisp around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
Lay bread slices on a cutting board. Spread each with mustard. Place layers of ham, cheese, and mushrooms on 2 of the bread slices. Top with remaining bread.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat (or heat a panini maker or sandwich press). Butter top of each sandwich, and place, buttered-side down, in skillet (or press). Butter other slice of bread, then cover sandwiches with a sheet of foil and set a heavy pan or pot lid on top, pressing gently to compress sandwiches (or close press). Grill, pressing occasionally and turning once, until sandwiches are browned and crisp on both sides and cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes total. Cut sandwiches in half and serve warm.
Nutrition info (per serving) Ham and Gruyère Sandwich: CALORIES 530 (293 from fat); FAT 33g (sat. 17g); CHOL 111mg; SODIUM 1546mg; CARB 27g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 32g