Did you know that today, April 26, is National Pretzel Day? Just the thought of it puts me in the mood to celebrate. And what better way recognize the yummy taste of pretzels than to pair it with another American classic – grilled cheese! Since April is National Grilled Cheese Month, the pairing seemed perfect to me.
It was an idea that also sounded pretty great to another cheese lover – and president of the American Cheese Society – Christine Hyatt. She’s known throughout social media at the Cheese Chick and she dared me to join her in a Pretzel Grilled Cheese Challenge. We agreed we would each come up with a creation that would pay homage to these two iconic foods.
Here’s a screenshot of the Facebook post that started it all:
You’ll find the link to the Cheese Chick’s blog post here. Be sure to check it out; Christine is one of the best food photographers around. And she came up with a positively swoonworthy breakfast sandwich.
Taking up the challenge:
Since pretzels, even soft pretzels, are hard to make into a sandwich, I opted to make mine with a pretzel roll. The one I used was light and fluffy, with a dark, crusty, pretzely outer layer that lent itself perfectly to my latest foodie flight of fancy.
Readers, I give you:
The Ham & Jam & Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Roll Grilled Cheese
Yes, it’s a mouthful, in more ways than one. But here’s the thing. I had delicious slices of leftover Easter ham, along with some amazing Bacon Jam I had made from a recipe I found on the wonderful King Arthur Flour blog “Flourish.” The jam was sitting in my fridge, just begging to jump onto a grilled cheese sammy. (That jam is pretty darned good for dipping hard pretzels, too. Just sayin’.)
I could have made it with Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, my go-to grilled cheese choice, but something about the taste of pretzels just cried out for some Horseradish Cheddar. And that, friends, is exactly what happened.
The “cooking” was the easy part. I split the fresh pretzel roll in half, spread the bacon jam on either side, layered on fat, pink slices of ham, and topped the whole thing with slices of Horseradish Cheddar. I didn’t even have to dirty a frying pan. I popped the sandwich to grill under the broiler and, voila! Before me was a bubbly, cheesy, salty sweet sandwich fit for the food gods.
If I hadn’t had bacon jam in my refrigerator, I might have slathered on a dollop of grainy mustard in its place, but the jam brought a hint of bacony fun to the proceedings.
So there you have it. A two-person challenge – asked and answered. Christine and I are going to do this again next year. Who wants to join us?
Candace Karu is Cabot’s Lifestyle Commentator and Favorite Foodie. (Yup, that’s her real title!) When she’s not on the road representing Cabot’s farm family owners, she lives, cooks, and works out in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.