Sweet and salty, tangy and gooey, this grilled cheese sandwich with country ham, leeks, and tomato jam hits all the right notes.
You ever make a large quantity of a condiment, and then not know what to do with it? Yeah, that happened to me, too. I had so many tomatoes that after putting up crushed tomatoes, seasoned and plain tomato sauce, green tomato bacon jam and salsa . . . whew . . . I decided to try making tomato jam.
I got the idea, and the recipe, from Marisa's first cookbook, Food In Jars (link to her eponymous website--hey, did I use that word correctly? Do I get points?). Tomato jam sounded like something I ought to try, and since I'd nearly filled up my pantry with other tomato products I gave it a go. It was easy because Marisa's directions are clear and simple to understand, she anticipates my questions and answers them before I think to say 'but, what about . . .'. I got her book out of my local library.
In a ham sandwich, tomato jam just sings. The sweetness of the jam perfectly balances the saltiness of a slice of ham, and you bet I'll be blowing through a jar eating Easter ham leftovers*. But tomato jam with a chicken sandwich? It's not that terrific. Turkey? Um, no thanks. I needed to get creative.
After I used country ham and leeks on a pizza, with asparagus and egg, I was inspired to try that combination of country ham and leeks in a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato jam. Bingo! The combination of salty bits of country ham [I like to bite my sandwich neatly, and not have the entire piece of meat pull out from between the bread, so I diced it] and sweet and tangy tomato jam is excellent. Add leeks, cheddar, and a griddle and you're golden. Serve it alongside creamy tomato soup and you'll have such a sense of accomplishment, a la The Little Red Hen (and no shortage of folks to help you eat it!)--Amazon affiliate link if you're not familiar with the book.
Grilled Cheese with Country Ham, Leeks, and Tomato Jam
1 Tablespoon buttery spread, divided
¼ cup sliced leeks (these can be frozen/thawed, which is how I put up my farm share leeks)
½ slice country ham (when cubed, it equals about ¼ cup cubed ham bits)
2 slices bread (I'm using my Multigrain Sourdough)
1 Tablespoon tomato jam (from this recipe, or store-bought)
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of buttery spread (you'll use the rest on the bread) and sauté the leeks for 3-5 minutes until browned and softened. Set leeks aside. Add the half slice of country ham to the hot skillet and brown both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside and chop into bits when cool. Spread 2 slices of bread with buttery spread and put them--butter side down--in hot skillet. Top one slice with cheese, leeks, and ham. Top the other slice with tomato jam. Brown the buttered sides of bread in the skillet, about 3 minutes, then layer the slice with tomato jam on top of the ham and leeks--jam side down. Mash together and serve.
*While in Chicago last week I had a Pub Waffle for breakfast with tomato jam on the side. When I get that recipe recreated here, I'll share it. Over the weekend it was my daughter's birthday, and she wanted "pancakes, bacon, and chocolate" so I made her chocolate chip bacon pancakes for breakfast. Yum! Then I got a good deal on uncooked corn tortillas and made eggs and beans and sausage and peppers for Sunday's breakfast. Since we do big breakfasts on the weekends, it will be a little while until I get that recipe up. I need some Easter ham first, as I think ham would be better than the turkey slice served to me on the Pub Waffle.
Want more Grilled Cheese ideas? Click on the image to go to other recipes: