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Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Bread and Butter Pickles

Kevin West / Los Angeles, CA / Excerpted from: Saving the Season: A cook's guide to home canning, pickling, and preserving by Kevin West (Knopf). Copyright 2013.

Pairs with: Apple DRY Soda

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Equal parts grated mozzarella and Gruyère cheese, plus 1/3 grated aged goat cheese such as Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove Chevre
Sourdough bread, sliced
Mayonnaise
Bread and butter pickles (recipe below)
Prosciutto
Butter

- Lightly coat sourdough bread on both sides with mayonnaise. Sprinkle the bottom slice of bread with cheese.
- Layer on Bread-and-Butter pickles and a slice of prosciutto.
- Cover with more cheese, then add the top slice of bread.
- Fry the sandwiches in generous butter for 10 minutes, or until golden, then add more butter, flip the sandwiches, and fry 10 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted.

Bread and Butter Pickles

4 pounds Kirby pickling cucumbers
1 pound small onions, thinly sliced
½ cup kosher salt
1 cup water
3 cups apple-cider vinegar
1½ cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
2 small fresh or dried red chilies, diced

Yields 4 pints

- Scrub the cucumbers well, and trim away the stem and blossom ends. Cut into 3⁄8-inch slices, and toss with the onions in a large bowl. Cover with a brine of ½ cup kosher salt dissolved into 1 gallon of cool water. (Don’t worry if some of the salt doesn’t dissolve immediately.) Crack two trays of ice over the top, and set aside for 2 hours. Stir from time to time, turning over the layers.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Drain the vegetables, and rinse them with fresh water. Bring the vinegar syrup back to a boil, add the vegetables, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide the vegetables among four prepared pint jars, then ladle the syrup into the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal, and process in a boiling- water bath for 10 minutes.

Notes:

Bread- and- butter pickles are the quintessential sandwich pickle for pulled pork, hamburgers, and hot ham-and-cheese. They are sweeter than dill pickles and seasoned with mustard seeds, ginger, celery seeds, and coriander. Turmeric tints them yellow, and onions are always part of the mix. I like to use little onions— some white and some red—and a combination of Kirby pickling cucumbers and squat lemon cucumbers when I can find them in late summer. A mandoline would be handy for the slicing work, and it also gives you the option of cutting old- fashioned ruffled slices, urbane smooth slices, or some of each.