Since airfare to Venice wasn't in this week's budget, we decided to attempt to recreate one of their famous menu items at home. The recipe below is a take on the Harry's Bar pierini which is basically a perfect hybrid of a grilled cheese and a deli ham sandwich. It is flavorful, rich and satisfying. The cheese spread is self assured - It pairs perfectly with both the crispy bread and the cold ham and it melts beautifully.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
8 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
12 ounces sliced ham
12 slices wheat or sourdough bread, crusts removed
6 tablespoons olive oil
Into a food processor, add the cheese, butter, mustard, Worcestershire and garlic.
Blend until the mixture is thick, smooth and spreadable.
Spread the cheese mixture over 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange the ham slices over the cheese mixture on 6 of the bread slices.
Top sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, cheese mixture side down, pressing gently to adhere. Cut the sandwiches in half.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook half of the sandwiches until golden brown and heated through, about 4 minutes per side.
Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep them warm. Repeat with remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and sandwiches. Serve immediately.