This open faced sandwich was inspired by a trip to my local farmer's market yesterday. While there I bought a loaf of delicious whole grain bread, some locally cured ham, organic apples, some sharp cheddar cheese, late season arugula, and a nice little acorn squash (although a sweet potato would have worked equally as well, I think). In keeping with these local New England flavors, I added some maple syrup and a tangy cranberry chutney to the dish. I love the contrasting flavors and textures of the sandwich, the peppery arugula along side the sweet squash and smokey ham, the gooey cheese juxtaposed with the crisp apple, and all of it popped by the tangy cranberry chutney. —Oui, Chef
Whole grain, artisan baked bread, thickly sliced
Locally cured ham, thickly sliced
honey crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced (or other locally available apple)
Split acorn squash in half, top to bottom, and scoop out the seeds. Please 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in the cavity of each half, and place in a baking dish . Sprinkle the squash with kosher salt, and pour a little water into the dish to keep the skins from burning and sticking to the bottom. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour (or longer if you have a big squash)
Remove the squash from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop the insides into a bowl and mash with a fork, making sure the butter and maple syrup is evenly distributed, check for seasoning and set aside.
Set your oven to broil.
Cut a thick slice of the bread and toast it. Build your open faced sandwich starting with the mustard, then the sliced apples, the smashed squash (you will have more of this than you need for the sandwich), the arugula, the ham and finally the cheese. Place the sandwich on a sheet try and pop under the broiler, cook until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
Remove from the oven and serve with a big spoonful of cranberry chutney, and a simple green salad.
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin.
About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.