Ever wanted to make those proper craggy toasted sandwiches that come off a hot press, oozing molten cheese and speckled with crusty bits, but can’t get to the cafe to order anything because dining out ‘en famille’ (ie with kids) is now like sharing a table with angry chimpanzees on crack? When we last ate out with offspring in tow, people’s eyes threw stabbing daggers at our backs. I would have done the same to us, if that makes sense. Our youngest mainly communicates in high pitched, lusty devilish yodelling, and tries to throw himself out of his high chair every other second while pressing food into his hair. It is fantastically draining and tedious. I can’t solve the eating out part. Just gotta wait it out. But I do have the answer for the toasted sandwich dilemma. All you need are your fillings, a frying pan, a heavy saucepan, a fish slice, actual butter (NO SPREAD, it is the devil’s food) and some nice crusty bread that you slice yourself. Not cheap ready-sliced. Look at the name of this blog, for heaven’s sake.
I suggest using bread like this (a sourdough) – it’s got the right chewiness and a lovely tangy flavour that can stand up to whatever filling you throw at it:
On this occasion, I was using strong Cheddar, ham and poky French Dijon mustard:
First up, heat your frying pan, and butter two slices of bread (to make two toasted sandwiches). Place each slice BUTTERED SIDE down in the frying pan and then place your ham and cheese on top. Don’t be stingy with the cheese – aim for about an inch thickness of the grated stuff. Fry the bread for a few minutes on a medium heat:
While you are doing this, get your other two slices ready – spread them with butter on one side, then mustard (if you like it) on the other side. Place on top of the slices in the pan, mustard side down, butter on the outside:
Then weigh everything down with some heavy saucepans to keep your sandwich pressed together:
After a few minutes, when you smell lovely buttery savoury goodness emanating from your sandwich, remove the heavy saucepans, get your fish slice underneath it, then flip it over (use fingers to keep everything together, the bread is not too hot to handle if you’re careful, but wear rubber gloves if you’re worried). Check the bread is nice and golden. When you’re happy with the colour, flip the sandwich over and place heavy saucepans on top of it again:
This is what you’re aiming for on both sides – YUM:
There you have it: le toasted sandwich, just like you’d have in a deli cafe:
Serve with a green salad dressed with a fiery mustardy vinaigrette. Heaven:
You could obviously buy a proper sandwich press, but I will never do this because otherwise I would eat nothing else. Toasted sandwiches are my Achilles heel. I say, eat them once in a while and LOAD ‘EM with badness!