Several months have passed since I cooked anything from my beloved Mustards Grill Cookbook. Since my taste buds have returned from parts unknown, I decided to celebrate by making a very special sandwich. It's so special Cindy Pawlcyn, the owner of Mustards Grill, says her husband married her because of it. He kept coming back to the restaurant to order it--and wound up falling under her spell too. That's so cute, like a scene in a movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Clearly, I had to make the sandwich. Like all the Mustards Grill recipes, it's a layering of different flavors: spicy, sweet, and savory. The sandwich has pesto mayonnaise, Jarlsburg cheese, smoked ham and a wonderful tomato apricot chutney full of herbs and spices. One of the spices is cumin which comes from the same family as King Cilantro, herb of the month and winner of the recent WHB Favorite Herb Contest. But, my spotlight this weekend is on ginger root, one of my favorite cooking ingredients.
This weekend our fearless leader, Kalyn, is taking a breather and allowing me to try my hand at hosting Weekend Herb Blogging. If you would like to take part in this event, just send me your link by 3:00 P.M. (Utah time) this Sunday, and I'll include you in the Roundup on Monday. My email address is Rdfern(AT)sbcglobal(DOT)net. Or send me your link in my comments, if you prefer. Here are the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging.
Ginger root has been one of my favorite herbs since the first time I tasted it in a dish, which was won ton soup. But, ginger has also long been valued for its health benefits. Traditionally, it's been used to treat stomach disorders and headache. It's also believed to improve stamina. I like to grate it into broth and drink it when I'm sick with a cold. It clears the sinuses and soothes the throat. Fresh Ginger comes in two forms: Young Ginger (also known as Spring Ginger) is tender and mild in flavor. Mature Ginger is the most familiar to shoppers, with a tough skin and a peppery, aromatic flesh underneath.
Smoked Ham and Jarlsberg Cheese Sandwiches With Basil Mayonnaise And Tomato And Apricot Chutney (Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)
Makes 4 sandwiches
2 Tablespoons basil pesto
1/3 cup mayo
8 slices rye bread
8 Tablespoons Tomato and Apricot chutney
8 slices Jarlesburg cheese
3/4 Lb. sliced honey-smoked ham or pepper ham, about 12 to 16 slices
To make each sandwich:
Mix together the pesto and mayo and spread a thin layer of it on each slice of bread. Spread a thicker layer of the chutney on one slice of bread and put one slice of cheese on top of it. Then place 3 to 4 slices of ham on top and add another slice of cheese. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread.
Heat a griddle or skillet to medium and smear with butter (or smear butter on the outside of the bread) and toast the sandwich slowly to a nice golden brown, making sure the cheese is melting before turning the sandwich and toasting the other side.
Serve with potato chips, pickles and mustard.
Tomato and Apricot Chutney
2 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoons red chile flakes
3.4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon fennel
1/4 fenugreek seeds
2 1/4 lb.. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
9 cloves garlic, chopped into a paste or run through a press
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 jalapenos
9 dried apricots, diced
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the chile flakes, mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, and fenugreek seeds and stir for for a few seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. for 25 to 30 minutes, until mixture starts to thicken.
Cut a slit in the jalapenos (use only 2 if you want less heat), then add them and the apricots to the pan. Simmer, stirring frequently until the mix is thick and jam like, for about 20 minutes. Remove jalapanos and serve separately, if you wish. Cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.