If you missed yesterday's intro post on it, this week's Cook the Book features Jenni Ferrari-Adler's Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, a book in which food writers and food-crazy authors share what it means to cook for one or dine alone. Today's recipe accompanies an essay written by Marcella Hazan, the woman credited with almost singlehandedly introducing Americans and Brits to traditional Italian cooking.
Hazan declares that she will eat "almost anything enclosed between two slices of bread," and offers her recipe for tost, "a grilled cheese sandwich whose ideal components are fontina cheese and cooked Parma ham."
It's no surprise that a sandwich would appear in a book dedicated to eating alone, but unlike that old solo-dining standby, the PBJ, this one is anything but dull—and is almost as quick to make.
- Yield:2 tost
- 4 thin, square slices white bread
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces imported Italian Fontina cheese, or aged Swiss or Gruyère cheese sliced thin, or slivers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Two slices cooked, unsmoked ham, preferably imported cooked Parma ham, but not prosciutto
- A baking dish
Turn on the oven to 500°F.
Butter each slice of bread on one side only.
Cover the buttered side of each of two slices with cheese and top with one slice of ham.
Cover with the remaining slice of bread, buttered side facing in.
Place in the baking dish without overlapping.
Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes the bread is not yet fully browned, bake for an additional minute.
Serve hot, cutting the tost diagonally in half if desired.