Here on New York City's Upper East Side, Orwasher's Bakery makes the best raisin pumpernickel bread imaginable. If you're not lucky enough to have access to it, use any good pumpernickel bread; be sure the bread has raisins to complement the flavors of the curry and the Cheddar cheese.
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 Granny Smith apple--peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Eight 1/2 -inch-thick slices of raisin pumpernickel bread
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 8 thin slices
3/4 pound baked cured ham, cut into 16 slices
2 cups arugula, torn into bite-size pieces
How to Make It
In a small skillet, stir the curry powder over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 15 seconds; let cool. In a medium bowl, toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the onion, mayonnaise, toasted curry powder and a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss again.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet. Set 2 slices of bread in the skillet and top each with a slice of Cheddar, 4 slices of ham, 1/3 cup of the curried apple, another slice of Cheddar and a slice of bread. Weight down the sandwiches with a medium, heavy skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottoms are toasted and the cheese on the bottom has melted, about 5 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over, press them down and add 1 more tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Brown the second sides, about 5 minutes. Separate the sandwiches between the ham slices and add 1/2 cup of the arugula to each, then reassemble them. Transfer to plates and repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 2 more sandwiches.
Wine Recommendation: Ham, curried apple, and arugula--what's needed here is a white with a spicy-fragrant attitude to match. An Alsace Tokay Pinot Gris, such as the 1995 Léon Beyer or the 1993 Hugel Cuvée Tradition, would be just the ticket.
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