Cheddar, Apple And Ham Melt


8 slices sourdough bread -- 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons butter -- at room temperature
1/4 pound smoky ham cut into slices
dijon-style mustard -- optional
1 small bosc pear or granny smith apple, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
6 ounces medium or sharp cheddar cheese -- coarsely grated


  1. Generously butter 1 side of each bread slice. Turn over half the slices of the bread so the buttered side is down. Place a slice of ham on each bread slice, folding ham to fit if necessary. Spread mustard lightly, if desired. Top with 4 or 5 pear or apple slices per sandwich; top with the cheese. (If you have only a single layer of fruit slices, the apple or pear will wilt rather than remain crisp.) Place the remaining bread slices on top, buttered side up. Press down to compress if the sandwich seems too thick.
  2. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet, in batches if necessary; cover. Cook until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt, about 2-3 minutes. Uncover; turn the sandwiches with a spatula. Press firmly to flatten them slightly. Cook until the undersides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn the sandwiches again; press. Cook until the cheese has melted, about 30 seconds. Cut each sandwich in half; serve hot.

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