I made these sandwiches during a busy week, when I just didn't feel like an elaborate meal. We might have had some soup to go with them. Or maybe fries or chips of some sort. I really can't remember. But I do remember being worried that my husband would scoff at the addition of apples. He isn't a fan of adding fruit into savory dishes. However, this time, he surprised me; he wondered what that flavor was that made this different from a normal grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It was tangy, sweet, and tart all at once. I played dumb, saying that it must be the whole-grain mustard. "No" my husband said, "that's not it." I admitted to the apples. He revealed that he loved it and has requested these sandwiches many times since! I'm so glad, because they really were fabulous! Enjoy on a cold winter evening when only soup and a sammy will do!
2 tablespoons butter
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 slices country-style bread
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
4 slices Black Forest ham
In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are slightly soft. Cool.
Preheat a panini press (or a grill pan, or whatever you use to make hot pressed sandwiches).
Spread each bread slice with mustard. Divide half the cheese between two slices of bread and top with ham. Place 2-3 slices of the apple mixture on top of the ham. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the cheese and top with the remaining 2 slices of bread, mustard side down. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crispy.
Recipe adapted from Weeknights with Giada, but Giada de Laurentiis.