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Charred Spanish Ham and Cheese Melts and "Hot" Olives with Herbs and Spices


  • 8 slices crusty bread from a good-sized loaf, 1/2-inch thick, at least 5 inches across and 3 inches wide

  • 1/3 pound thinly slices serrano ham

  • 1/3-1/2 pound manchego, thinly sliced with sharp knife or cheese plane

  • 1 cup hot pickled vegetable salad of cauliflower, carrots, celery and hot peppers (giardiniera) drained,

  • 1/2 cup sweet pickled red pepper relish or sweet pickle relish

  • 2 cups mixed good quality olives

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling


Layer serrano and cheese in equal amounts on 4 slices of bread. Grind the hot pickled vegetables and the sweet pickle relish in food processor and pulse chop to make a relish. Spread the relish evenly on sandwich tops and set into place.

Place olives in a foil pouch and season with thyme, lemon zest, cumin seeds and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with EVOO and seal the pouch. Place pouch on grill and cook a few minutes on each side to heat the olives, herb and spices.

Pre-heat grill or grill pan to medium high.

Place sandwiches on grill and weight down with heavy skillet or a brick covered in foil. Char and heat the sandwiches through, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Cut sammies in half and serve with "Hot" Olives alongside.