Gorgonzola and ham hock grilled cheese

I used to get annoyed when I heard the American term ‘grilled cheese’ for what is essentially a fried toastie, and is cooked no where near a grill.

Until I got a right hankering for one when watching a film based in the US. I didn’t want a toastie. I didn’t want French toast. I wanted a grilled cheese.

So this dish, which we had for a lazy Sunday breakfast, was my twist on all-American grilled cheese. I get it now. And you will too.

This recipe has a few tips to make it easier – no flipping half way through, making a mess everywhere, and the sandwich is finished off in the oven to make sure the insides melt properly without burning the bread.

Serves 2

2 handfuls of spinach
4 slices of thick crusty bread (I used sliced tiger loaf)
Salted butter (enough for spreading on each slice of bread)
A handful of shop-bought, cooked, shredded smoked ham hock
2 thick slices of Gorgonzola 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Wilt the spinach in a small saucepan and drain
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread – the buttered side is going to be on the outside
  3. On the unbuttered side of a slice of bread, add half of the ham hock, then layer on top half of the spinach and then half the cheese. Repeat once more on a second slice
  4. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat with the oil before adding the two ‘open’ sandwiches that have the toppings/fillings. Fry for about 3-4 minutes before carefully transferring them to a baking sheet.
  5. Then fry the two remaining slices of bread on one side only (the buttered side) for 3 minutes before placing on top of the open sandwiches, fried side outwards.
  6. Place the sandwiches in a preheated oven at 220/430F/Gas Mark 6 for around 5 minutes before serving.

Top tips

  • Buttering the outside of the sandwiches means the outsides get nice a crisp – as if it’s been cooked in butter – without the butter burning
  • This is another dish that can be varied to your tasting. Try cheddar and bacon; Brie and cranberry; Camembert and caramelised onion; mozzarella and pesto

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