Scrappy. [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

My fridge is a cemetery of photoshoot and recipe testing leftovers. Sometimes there are useful things, like grilled salmon that becomes a last-minute dinner party entrée, with sesame oil mayonnaise and pea shoots. If you're patient and willing to play icebox Jenga, you can find bits and scraps that a more organized person would've thrown out...bits and scraps that this scrappy cook can reinvent as a delightful meal for two.

This sandwich is just such a construction of misplaced bits I found in the crisper drawer: thin slices of French ham, a hunk of good cheese, stray leeks, and leftover bread turn into a French bistro-worthy open-faced sandwich that's hearty and rich. Subtle leeks are sautéed along with shreds of ham until crisp and golden, then sprinkled on bread; I opted for croissant, but baguette or a slice of hearty sandwich bread will work just as well. A cheese sauce made with nutty, smoky artisanal New York cheddar is generously spooned over the ham mixture, then run under the broiler until bubbly and spotty brown. Fantastically fancy for such humble beginnings.

Ham, leeks, and a velvety layer of bubbly, broiled cheddar sauce: ham-and-cheese sandwich that's not so ho-hum.

About the author: María del Mar Sacasa is a recipe developer, food stylist, and author of the food blogs High Heels & Frijoles and Cookin' and Shootin'.
Behind her girly façade lurks a truck driver's appetite. Read about her cravings and suffer through her rants on Twitter @HHandFrijoles and see her constant stream of food images on Instagram: mdmsacasa


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