The Underrated Cheese Your Ham Sandwiches Need Yesterday

It's a commonly shared feeling among the public that, sometimes, it's better not to mess with the classics. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That saying certainly holds true in many culinary situations where it's best not to stray too far from an original recipe. But fixing yourself a sandwich is an exception. They're almost like a blank canvas, as there are endless variations as to how you can spruce up a common club or panini recipe just by adding an ingredient or two.

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Case in point, the ham sandwich. Cross this simple, already well-loved food with yet another classic comfort meal, the grilled cheese, and you have yourself the unexpectedly delicious culmination of two timeless favorites. All it takes is adding a layer of pimento cheese to your ham sandwich. This rather underrated spread is more known in the Southern U.S., and for good reason. The act of combining pimento, a sweet, mildly hot pepper from Spain, with a few other key ingredients brings you a creamy texture and sweet, smokey (often spicy) flavor. Putting it on your bread then grilling it can truly be the game-changer that makes you go ham for your next ham sandwich.

How to make pimento cheese spread

To experience the tangy goodness of the spread, you can pick up a jar or tub of pre-made pimento cheese at your local grocery store. Otherwise, it's a low-effort, quick process to make the cheese right at home since the recipe calls for ingredients that are most likely already sitting in your fridge. Plus, there's room to get creative with elements you choose to add.

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First start by stirring cream cheese and mayonnaise together in a bowl. This blend will serve as the base. In a separate dish, gather the other fundamental ingredients, which include a generous amount of grated sharp cheddar cheese, chopped onion and garlic, and, of course, plenty of chopped pimento peppers. You can alternatively use garlic and onion powder instead of cutting up fresh produce to save some time. Thoroughly combine these components with your base of cream cheese and mayo, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Feel free to throw in hot sauce, mustard, minced jalapeƱos, and cayenne pepper, too. It'll all come together to create a thick, rich mixture.

Assemble your ham sandwich with cheese and other ingredients

Half the battle is done once you've finished making your spread. From there, all that's left to do is assemble and heat your sandwich. Grab two slices of your preferred bread, and brush melted butter on one side of each. You can also give your makeshift grilled cheese more flavor by using coconut oil instead. Regardless of which you choose to use on your bread, flip the slices over afterward, and spread a plentiful amount of the pimento cheese on both. Top with as many slices of ham as your heart desires before closing the sandwich.

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Now this is where the magic happens. Cook the sandwich in a large skillet on the stove until it's golden brown and the cheese begins to melt. You'll be left with a mouthwateringly crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside crossover between a hot ham sandwich and grilled cheese. Serve it with your side of choice, such as pickles, chips, or raw veggies (which by the way, you can also use to dip in your remaining pimento cheese). Aside from ham sandwiches, try swapping the suggested cheeses for pimento cheese to upgrade recipes such as for the ultimate breakfast burrito or an ultra cheesy Juicy Lucy.

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