Grilled Serrano Ham and Manchego Sandwich

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I’ve never met a ham and cheese sandwich I didn’t like, and this Spanish-inspired version is exceptional. It features the classic pairing of Manchego and membrillo (quince paste). Manchego is available at various stages of aging; I prefer a semiaged cheese here, but any will do.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices ciabatta, sturdy white bread, or whole-grain bread
  • 4 Tbsp (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5–6 oz (155–185 g) semiaged Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
  • ¼ lb (125 g) thinly sliced serrano ham (8 slices)
  • ¼ lb (125 g) membrillo (see note), cut into 4 thin slices

Method

Spread 1 side of each bread slice with a little of the butter. Place 4 slices, buttered side up, on a work surface. Top the bread with the Manchego, covering it completely. Place 2 slices of ham on each sandwich, and then 1 slice of membrillo. Top the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.

In a large frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat, add the sandwiches, buttered side down, and then spread the tops with the remaining butter. Cook until the undersides are golden brown, 4–5 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the sandwiches, then press down for 20–30 seconds. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 4 minutes longer.

Transfer to individual plates or a platter. Cut into halves or quarters and serve at once.

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