KJ’s Ultimate Ham & Cheese Toastie
Freshly baked square tin white bread
250g Gruyere Cheese
250g Comte Cheese
handful of thyme
6 slices of streaky bacon
1/4 cup Madeira
700g quality shaved ham off the bone
Make the onion compote first:
Slice the onions thinly to begin with. Then melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat and add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until well caramelised and dark in colour. If the onions start to catch on the bottom of the pan, add a little water and stir more frequently.
In the meantime, coat the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of oil and place over a medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook for 5–8 minutes until the bacon is soft and beginning to colour. Drain the bacon on kitchen paper and set aside.
Deglaze the pan of onions with the Madeira, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the bacon and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Allow to cool.
Time to make the sandwiches:
Grate the cheeses and combine in a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the ham into smallish pieces.
Heat some more butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat, cut thick slices of bread and place one slice per sandwich into the pan. Spoon a generous amount of onion compote onto the bread along with a few drops of truffle oil, followed by a large helping of ham, followed by a large handful of the mixed cheese (remembering to keep some cheese aside).
Then top with another slice of bread and carefully turn the sandwich over. While the other side of the sandwich is cooking sprinkle some more cheese over the top of the sandwiches and into the pan around them. Turn the sandwiches over every 2 minutes adding more cheese as you go.
Once the cheese inside the sandwiches is beginning to ooze, remove and place on a copping board. Cut in half, serve on a plate and garnish with thyme leaves.
Thanks to Heston and Jamie for the inspiration.