Here’s to the Hamchester Sandwich

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A marvelous grilled cheese you can make in minutes at home!

Here’s an easy-to-make sandwich that strikes me as ideal for autumn eating! Manchester cheese from the Creamery, slices of Nueske’s ham (come to the Mini Camp Bacon dinner at the Roadhouse on the evening of November 7), with caramelized onion and you have a … Hamchester! It all comes together in a marvelous way that features Manchester beautifully.

The Manchester is the young, semi-soft, creamy textured cow’s milk cheese we make at the Creamery. It’s named for the small Michigan town of Manchester, about 20 minutes west of Ann Arbor. It’s delicious eaten as is—be sure to let it get to room temperature so that you can access the full creamy, mild, with-a-touch-of-tart, tangy flavor—and it might be even tastier on this great sandwich.

To start the cooking, thinly slice an onion and then sauté it long and slowly in extra virgin olive oil. Salt lightly. To caramelize the onions it may take about 20 minutes—go slow so they don’t burn, stirring occasionally. The onions should be a nice dark brown. When they’re ready, remove the onions from the pan and set them aside. In the same pan, add a bit more olive oil (unless there’s a lot of oil left after you take out the onions, in which case just use that). By cooking the sandwich in the same pan, you’ll incorporate the flavors of the onion into the bread.

To compose the Hamchester, put moderately thick slices of Manchester onto a couple of hand-cut slices of the Bakehouse’s Better Than San Francisco Sourdough. Spread each side of the bread with a bit of chutney, or, I’ve been using the marvelous pear mostarda we have at the Cream Top Shop from Quince and Apple. Add the caramelized onions. Lay on a couple slices of Nueske’s applewood smoked ham. If you’re not eating meat, no worries, the sandwich will be very good without it as well. Close the sandwich and when the oil in the skillet is hot, but not smoking, add the sandwich to the pan. Place a heavy bowl or small plate on top to weigh it down while it cooks.

When the bread is golden brown, flip, and repeat! Eat and enjoy!