As long as you know how to make a good béchamel sauce you can turn any old ham and cheese toastie into a French classic. When making a béchamel sauce it is important to never add any flour once you start adding the milk. This is a sure fire way to get lumpy sauce. If your technique on this staple skill is a little shaky just pop on over to YouTube where you’ll find oodles of excellent videos to assist you.
Now, these are traditionally made with Gruyère. Not only does my impoverished budget not allow for such luxuries but also my local Countdown didn’t have any so I used trusty old Edam instead. Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan over the top to add extra flavour if you find some lurking around in your fridge.
- 4 slices of thick toast white bread
- 4 slices of ham
- ½ cup grated Edam
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 30g butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup grated Edam
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to a high grill (220 degrees) and preheat your baking tray on a reasonably high shelf.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low-to-medium heat then add the flour. Stir until it comes off the sides and dough forms. Cook this dough (whilst still stirring) for another minute or so, making sure not to brown it. Slowly start adding in your milk and stirring so that the dough breaks up and becomes a thick sauce with the milk. Once all the milk is added, continue to stir over the heat until the sauce thickens to the same consistency as thick custard. Stir in the mustard and the cheese and leave to one side.
- Spread the Dijon mustard onto two of your bread slices. Spread a quarter of the béchamel sauce on top of that making sure you go right to the edges. Layer over the ham and then a small handful of cheese. Place the top bread pieces over the top and then spread over the last of the béchamel sauce. Top with the rest of the grated cheeses, place on your baking tray (lined with baking paper) and grill for five minutes – keeping an eye on it, of course!
- Remove from the oven and devour as soon as it is cool enough to stuff into your mouth. Brace yourself for the cheese coma that is sure to follow!