Hillsy's mom makes the best toasties is the world and I've been trying to persuade her to open up a Toastie shop in NYC (no luck so far). She claims it's the bread but I'm convinced that she puts an extra layer of lard when I'm not looking. I've tried and tried to replicate Kay's famous toasties but my version is only half as good. There's just something about how moms cook things. I guess I'll have to wait my turn!
- a panini grill or a large cast iron skillet and another heavy one to use as a weight
- bread* (I used Ciabatta )
- ham (thinly sliced french ham would be preferable)
- English cheddar, shredded (can be substituted with Irish cheddar)
- olive oil for brushing
- spreadable butter
* I have not been able to find a good loaf of white bread that's comparable to the ones found in the UK. The white bread over there is much denser/compact and really lends itself well to being pressed. If you're lucky enough to have a chinese bakery close, you can try buying a loaf of white sliced bread. I find that it's more compact than WONDER. Pepperidge Farm's "bread with substance" loaf isn't bad either. A third alternative would be Whole Foods' White Enriched White Bread. Wow, I didn't know I could write an entire post dedicated to white sliced bread!
- Butter both sides of the bread.
- Place cheese on top of one side.
- Distribute desired amount of ham evenly (don't lay out flat, create air pockets) on top of the cheese.
- Place other half on top and brush both top sides with olive oil.
- Place in the grill and press down to flatten as much as possible.
- Grill for about 8 minutes and turn. Grill for another 8 -10 minutes or until golden brown. Don't worry if you hear the cheese sizzling.
- Cut and serve with a simple salad.