Like peanut butter and jelly, the pairing of ham and cheese has been around forever. However, it just doesn't get old. When I'm in the mood for a comforting and quick meal, I make this ham and cheese panini. Served with mixed greens or a bowl of soup, it's the perfect dinner for one. Caramelized shallots and fresh thyme give it a touch of elegant sophistication, while grainy mustard ensures that the sandwich isn't too dry. It's nostalgic and homey, but gourmet enough to offer guests at a luncheon or impromptu weeknight dinner. Want the recipe? Read more.

Ham-and-Cheese Panini

Ham-and-Cheese Panini


  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 4 cups thinly sliced shallots
  3. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  4. 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  5. 8 slices rustic white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  6. 8 slices Gruyere cheese
  7. 8 ounces sliced cooked ham


  1. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat; add shallots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add thyme and continue cooking until onions are caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard on one side of a slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese, 2 ounces ham, 1/4 of the shallot mixture, and another slice of cheese. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard on a second slice of bread and place mustard side down on top of cheese to form a sandwich. Repeat process three times with remaining mustard, bread, cheese, ham, and shallots.
  4. Brush top and bottom of each sandwich with olive oil. Place in a panini grill and press until bread is crisp and brown, and cheese has melted slightly, 9 to 10 minutes. If using a grill pan, preheat over medium-high heat. Place a heavy pan on top of sandwiches and press down. Cook, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

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