A ham and cheese sandwich is hard to beat, and this Spanish-inspired version is exceptional. It features the classic pairing of Manchego and membrillo, or quince paste; any Manchego will work, but we recommend a semiaged cheese here.
Grilled Serrano Ham and Manchego Sandwich
8 slices ciabatta, sturdy white bread, or whole-grain bread
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5-6 oz. (155-185 g.) semiaged Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 lb. (125 g.) thinly sliced serrano ham (8 slices)
1/4 lb. (125 g.) membrillo, cut into 4 thin slices
Spread 1 side of each bread slice with a little of the butter. Place 4 slices, buttered side up, on a work surface. Top the bread with the Manchego, covering it completely. Place 2 slices of ham on each sandwich, and then 1 slice of membrillo. Top the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
In a large frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat, add the sandwiches, buttered side down, and then spread the tops with the remaining butter. Cook until the undersides are golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the sandwiches, then press down for 20-30 seconds. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 4 minutes longer.
Transfer to individual plates or a platter. Cut into halves or quarters and serve at once. Serves 4.