This post is part of “The Art of Cheese”, a partnership between Honest Cooking and Castello Cheese.
Sharp cheese, a smear of spiced fruit chutney, and a dab of strong mustard between thick slices of bread make up the perfect ploughman’s sandwich.
By Lynda Balslev
Once upon a time I lived in England. I have many takeaways from that experience, and one of them is the ploughman, the ubiquitous pub lunch consisting of generous slabs of cheese served on a platter with bread, fruit, chutney, and pickles. In my opinion, the combination is a perfect meal: sharp aged cheese, a smear of spiced fruity chutney, perhaps a dab of strong mustard, and wedges of apple stacked onto thick slices of country style bread.
I couldn’t help but think of the ploughman when I was recently invited to contribute a recipe incorporating or accompanying Castello’s Aged Havarti Cheese. Castello is near and dear to my heart – a brand I know well from Denmark, so I was eager to step up to the task. I was also eager to try their aged rendition of havarti, which, trust me, is not your generic mild havarti. Nutty, piquant and dense, I easily pictured it with a dollop of robust chutney. As timing would have it, I like to make chutneys during the holiday season to accompany a cheese platter. So for this challenge, I took inspiration from Piccallili, the English version of Indian pickles, which is frequently served with ploughman’s lunches – and made an apple chile chutney, then ramped everything up a notch by piling all of the ingredients into a hearty grilled cheese sandwich with fresh onion, baby kale leaves and sliced apple.
- 2 slices sourdough or ciabatta bread, cut ½-inch thick
- Salted butter, softened
- 2 ounces coarsely grated cheese, such as aged Havarti or sharp Cheddar
- Red onion slices
- Thinly sliced apple, such as Granny Smith or Fuji
- Baby kale leaves
- 2 tablespoons Apple Chile Chutney (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 to 3 red chile peppers, depending on size and heat, stemmed and seeded, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated peeled ginger, with juices
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Butter one side of each bread slice. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one bread slice to the skillet, butter-side down. Mound the cheese evenly over the bread. Cover the pan and cook until the cheese is mostly melted, about 3 minutes. Place a layer of onion over the cheese, then top with apple slices and kale leaves.
- Spread 1 to 2 spoonfuls of chutney over the kale, but not entirely to the edges. Place the second bread slice over the chutney, butter side up. Using a spatula, carefully flip the sandwich and gently press down.
- Cover the skillet and cook until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the bread is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cut in half. Eat immediately.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the chutney thickens, about 20 minutes.
- Cool completely, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate. The chutney will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.