The great toastie! 

More of a tradition than a recipe, the toastie is a term that refers to a sandwich which usually involves cheese and always involves toasting the bread in a pan. 

Sounds like grilled cheese, right?

Well… yes, and no. The tradition of the toastie involves using what you have on hand to elevate the humble sandwich—to make a more substantial meal or a snack that is not only quick and easy, but brings comfort… and sometimes even a hint of luxury.


Deluxe But Simple

Our TOMME Toastie is a riff on bocadillo de jamón, a simple ham and cheese sandwich found in cafes and tapas restaurants across Spain.

Usually the sidekick to a café con leche or a cold cerveza, this Spanish staple epitomizes the European approach to food: simple ingredients of the highest quality combined in an alarmingly effective way. 

The result is a testimony to the old adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Queso Por Favor

We start with the obvious: Spanish cheese. In particular, Mahon Curado, a sharp and vibrant raw cow-milk cheese from the island of Menorca. 

Coated with a butter-oil-paprika mixture and cellar aged for 6 months, this full-flavoured cheese is made from the milk of cows raised on the island.

For those who prefer a cheese with a less assertive character, Queso Iberico or Manchego make fine substitutes.

For texture, we’re adding a Swiss cheese, which provides our toastie with a gooey and melty interior, and rounds out the flavours with that distinct Alpine twang. Here we’ve reached for Emmental, a classic Swiss cheese that’s sweet, slightly spicy, and wonderfully aromatic.

Jamon: Only the Best

The true star of the show, though, is jamon: cured ham that is at the heart of Spanish cuisine and culture. Jamon is created by salting fresh hams and hanging them to dry age for anywhere from 12 to 48 months.

There are two main traditions of this artisanal craft. Serrano, which is the most common, and Iberico, which uses only extremely high-quality meat, sourced from a lineage of pigs who have been free-range feeding on acorns for generations.

We’ve recently started carrying Iberico ham. It is truly like no other ham in the world.

For those who find the price on this luxury product a little steep, Italian prosciutto makes a very decent substitute. 

Full Press: A Word on Technique

The best toastie has a perfectly even crust across the surface of both sides of the bread. In a sandwich shop, this is usually achieved by using an expensive and heavy sandwich press, which you probably don’t have at home. 

Fear not—the exact same effect can be replicated at home by using a weight to press down on the sandwich while it's cooking in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Use another heavy skillet and place it on top of the sandwich while it cooks, or use a lid with a flat bottom and apply the gentle pressure yourself.

The TOMME Toastie

Makes: 1 large sandwich

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low to medium heat.
  2. Cut sourdough into medium-thick slices.
  3. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Use just enough butter to barely cover the surface of the bread–we’re using it to get a nice golden crust, not to add too much flavour. The butter side of the bread is going to be the exterior which will cook against the surface of the pan.
  4. Mix grated cheeses together. 
  5. Build your sandwich. With the butter side facing down, layer half of the cheese on the non-buttered side of a slice of bread. Place strips of ham on top of cheese and layer the other half of the cheese on top. Finish by placing the second slice of bread on top, with the butter side facing out.
  6. Place the sandwich in the preheated skillet, and place another heavy skillet on top of the sandwich to weigh it down while it cooks. 
  7. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is beginning to melt and bread forms a crispy golden crust.
  8. Flip and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes, using the heavy skillet again to apply gentle pressure to the sandwich while it cooks.
  9. When cheese is fully melted and both sides have a crispy golden crust, remove the sandwich from the pan.
  10. Cut in half to serve. Enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • Cut the sandwich into strips and serve as an appetizer at your next dinner or tapas party.
  • To get the true sandwich press effect, preheat the secondary heavy skillet before you place it on top of the sandwich as it cooks. Be sure to be careful when handling and use oven mitts!

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