“One of the most satisfying ways to celebrate freshly baked bread is to sandwich it around world-class ingredients. And then to toast it. Cheese is obligatory; ideally a combination of one that melts well and another that packs a powerful punch,” explains food writer Ed Smith. “But that dairy needs another savoury item to provide interest beyond the first bite. This could be a cured or cooked meat, or a thinly sliced but still punchy vegetable, like onions, leeks or fennel.

“Condiments are essential, be it a piquant or sweet pickle or conserve, or something hot and spicy from Pimento Hill or Time for Kimchi. Finally, the toastie must be cooked with care – compressed from time to time, and fried at a pace that ensures the outside is crisp and golden, and the centre molten.”

Cheese and Ham toast
(Issy Croker/Hodder and Stoughton/PA)
Cheese and Ham toast
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Cheese and ham toastie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 512 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 5258mg229%
Potassium 1276mg36%
Carbohydrates 514g171%
Fiber 22g92%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 126g252%
Vitamin A 601IU12%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 831mg83%
Iron 33mg183%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cheese and ham toastie

A toasted sandwich like no other
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time18 mins
Course: Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: British
Servings: 1
Calories: 512kcal
Author: Ed Smith


  • 2 1–2cm-thick slices of sourdough bread
  • Butter
  • 60 g cheese, ideally a 50/50 combination of melting and strong both coarsely grated
  • 20 g sliced ham or cured meat, or 40g sliced cooked meat
  • 15 g onions, spring onions or leeks finely sliced
  • Condiment of choice (optional)


  • Butter what will become the external sides of each piece of bread. Build the sandwich, with a sprinkle of cheese on the base first, then onions or the meat, followed by the remaining cheese, then add pickles or spread the condiment onto the inside of the top slice, finally pressing that on top.
  • Place a heavy-based frying pan over a low-to-medium heat and allow it to warm up for a minute.
  • Transfer the sandwich to the frying pan and cook very gently, regularly pushing down on the sandwich with a fish slice or palette knife. After two minutes, some but not all of the cheese will have melted, and the base of the bread will be browning. Carefully flip the toastie over and repeat the gentle frying and pressing for two minutes more.
  • Repeat, frying both sides for another two minutes each so that the cheese and fats are oozing out of the sandwich and the bread is golden and crisp.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool for one to two minutes before eating – the centre will be hotter than the sun.


Possible combinations:
  • Stilton (or other strong blue), Fontina and kimchi
  • Nduja, honey and mozzarella
  • Cooked ham, raclette, comté and mustard
  • Cheddar, Ogleshield, leeks and chutney
  • Soft-rind white cheese, turkey and cranberry sauce
  • Bresaola, tapenade and Emmental on rye bread
  • Fennel salami, Ubriaco (drunken cheese) and dill pickles
  • Tallegio, roast peppers, spring onions and chives


Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 514g | Protein: 126g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 5258mg | Potassium: 1276mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 601IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 831mg | Iron: 33mg

The Borough Market Cookbook by Ed Smith is published by Hodder & Stoughton. Photographs by Issy Croker.

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