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The Secret Ingredient (Membrillo): Grilled Cheese with Serrano and Membrillo

Membrillo is a quince paste that's great with cheese, especially Manchego.

Grilled cheese with serrano ham and membrillo. [Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

Another Membrillo Recipe

Apple and Pear Membrillo Turnovers ยป

One of my favorite memories of my trip to Spain a year ago was breakfast. Around the corner from our hotel in Barcelona was a little sandwich shop where, for breakfast, you could order a sandwich of crusty bread toasted and rubbed with garlic and tomato, anointed with olive oil and robed around either queso (Manchego) or ham.

For this sandwich, I take the traditional idea of a grilled cheese and fly it back to Spain, pairing the Spanish cheese of Manchego and the softer, more yielding Campo de Montalban with the famed Serrano ham and membrillo (quince paste) and olive oil. The salinity from the cheeses and ham pair perfectly—no surprise—with that traditional cheese coupling of membrillo, which adds a fruity sweetness that's not too overwhelmingly sugary or watery. In this case, the membrillo acts as a spread, just like mustard in a usual ham and cheese.

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Grilled Manchego, Serrano, and Membrillo Sandwich

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

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