Old Fashioned Tosti

It has been ages, AGES, since my father made me a grilled ham/cheese sandwich after doing homework. And I felt nostalgic and wanted to smell and taste that old fashined (how we Dutch call it) "Tosti". Not the modern one that goes into that electrical waffle like clam machine. But with some butter, and in the frying pan!

Up front, apologies for having no pictures. My digital camera lens is getting cleaned as my cat put her snout on it and licked it to taste the pictures. You will have to use your imagination on this one.

Despite that this is the most simplest of foods to make, some bread, ham/cheese and heat it up. Done! This is actually a version that is 'the Floris tosti' by now, and requires a bit of preparation. Because taste matters, okay?

I strongly recommend to not use 'young' cheese and certainly no 'old' cheese to avoid an overkill in cheese-flavor or that old stinky cheese. A somewhat aged Edam cheese therefor was picked up by me from the Edam Market last week (nice 15 KM ride on my bike btw on a very good autumn day). And on the way back a local farmer that sells ham let me pick out a tasty grilled / sliced ham.

Friday I went to a market in North of Purmerend where I was able to find a bit thicker sliced, almost quite dark, bread with extra fibre, whole wheat. And I needed fresh vegetables so I also took some bio tomatoes and cucumber, lettuce, basil, and peppers, etc home with me. I will only be using some basil, lettuce and tomato for the Tosti though.

I still had 'Traditional Heinz Tomato Ketchup' in a small bottle at home, it's not too thin and has an excellent Heinz Ketchup taste that makes it perfect for this. What I am leaving out is Dijon mustard, something that's more American I think, and doesn't match up to my dads' version. An alternative version of this, plus added bacon bits, will be posted in future. Feel free to check back on my blog in the future, or just add it if you like.

Time to get started.

Before I put the pan on the fire, I prepare myself by getting all the ingredients, slice up the tomato in thin layers. Slice some cheese, etc.

I put the frying pan (with non-stick bottom) on the stove, position medium. So the pan doesn't turn bloody hell hot, but slowly heats up. I get the bread and with a knife I spread a tiny bit of butter on the inside. And sprinkle some of the basil on the butter. I do this on four slices.

Now I add some slices of cheese, and a few slices of tomato. Then I add some ham. If you like, you can add a few more slices of tomato (this just depends on your personal flavor). And if you are really into cheese, you can add an extra layer. Especially if you're doing this as a supper instead of a lunch.

I put a little bit of butter in the frying pan and give it a sec.

I put the other two slices of bread on the first two. So I in effect have two sandwiches ready.

They're going into the frying pan. And I just leave the medium position as it is. We don't want to burn the bread. But we also don't want to lose it crispiness by lowering the temperature.

Move the sandwiches around a bit to avoid cheese or bread getting burned.

Slightly lift it to see if they're obviously brown and ready for a flip. If you see smoke, you're too late. hehe.

Flip them over and wait an almost equal amount of minutes. This all shouldn't take too long. A handful of minutes usually works out just fine for me.

While it's getting ready, and in between the flips, you can prepare the plate. Slice the lettuce up a bit, and if you want a bit more basil on it. Cut the remaining tomato parts up in bite size pieces and mix it with the lettuce/basil. Put a bit of ketchup on the side of it. A cool fresh bite alongside a hot cheese-melty sandwich, is quite nice. And if you're up for it, you could even include a little bit of green pepper or paprika. Personally I don't really like it, stingy taste sometimes that doesn't mix too well with cheese.

Ok, the sandwich is ready, take them out of the frying pan and put them on the plate. Cut the sandwiches diagonally so they're triangles. And here's a little tip. I stack the corners up on each other. This way there is room for some of the hot air to escape from under the Tosti, preventing the bottom to go soft, losing it crispy bite.

You're almost done. You now have a choice, and I choose the last one. Either get a glass of milk and stay inside, turn on the television and go sit comfortably on your couch. Enjoy some free time with a nice lunchy-snack while it's stormy autumn weather outside. Or if the time and weather is right. (And obviously boil water while making the sandwich) get a big cup of hot water and some tea. Go outside in your favorite winter jacket, and sit in the sun (and in my case, the balcony) your garden or whatever, and enjoy the autumn season while having a nice end of the afternoon-early supper. The tea is a nice relaxing complement for the moment, and also keeps your fingers nice and warm.

I really enjoyed getting the ingredients, preparing the food and making it. And especially felt quite nostalgic when I smelled the Tosti smell and tasted it; Just how it was back when I lived home. And I hope you get inspired to give this sandwich idea a try - and please post to let me know how it turned out for you.

Don't forget to check back in a while on this blog to find the, what I call: American Tosti version. Where we take it a step further even.

Floris.