Ham and cheese are a classic pairing that has been enjoyed for centuries. From a simple ham sandwich to a gourmet charcuterie board, cheese can add a whole new dimension of flavor to your ham dishes. If you’re wondering what cheese goes best with ham, read on for our comprehensive guide.
The Best Cheese Options for a Classic Ham Sandwich
Let’s start with the basics – a classic ham sandwich. You want a cheese that will complement the flavor of the ham without overpowering it. Popular options include swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and provolone cheese. Swiss cheese has a mild, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with ham. Cheddar cheese adds a sharp and tangy flavor that can cut through the saltiness of the ham. Provolone cheese has a mild but slightly tangy flavor that adds a creamy texture to your sandwich.
Another great cheese option for a classic ham sandwich is gouda cheese. Gouda cheese has a rich, buttery flavor that pairs well with the saltiness of the ham. It also has a smooth texture that adds a creamy element to your sandwich. Another cheese option to consider is brie cheese. Brie cheese has a mild, creamy flavor that can add a luxurious touch to your ham sandwich. It pairs well with sweet and savory flavors, making it a versatile cheese option.
If you’re looking for a healthier cheese option for your ham sandwich, consider using goat cheese. Goat cheese has a tangy flavor that can add a unique twist to your sandwich. It’s also lower in fat and calories compared to other cheese options. Another healthy cheese option is feta cheese. Feta cheese has a salty and tangy flavor that can complement the saltiness of the ham. It’s also a good source of protein and calcium.
The Top 5 Cheeses to Pair with Smoked Ham
Smoked ham has a rich, smoky flavor that can be enhanced with the right cheese pairing. Here are our top five cheese recommendations for smoked ham:
- Gouda cheese – has a nutty and sweet flavor that pairs well with smoked ham.
- Blue cheese – has a bold and tangy flavor that can complement the smokiness of the ham.
- Manchego cheese – has a buttery and nutty flavor that can balance the salty flavor of the ham.
- Smoked Gouda cheese – has a smoky flavor that can amplify the smokiness of the ham.
- Provolone cheese – has a mild but slightly tangy flavor that can complement the smoky flavor of the ham.
When selecting a cheese to pair with smoked ham, it’s important to consider the texture of the cheese as well. A soft and creamy cheese like brie may not hold up well against the dense texture of smoked ham, while a harder cheese like parmesan may overpower the flavor. For a balanced pairing, consider a semi-soft cheese like fontina or a crumbly cheese like feta.
How to Choose the Perfect Cheese for Your Ham and Cheese Omelette
When it comes to ham and cheese omelettes, you want a cheese that will melt and blend well with the eggs for a smooth and creamy texture. Some of the best cheese options include:
- Feta cheese – has a tangy flavor that can add a nice contrast to the salty ham.
- Goat cheese – has a tangy and creamy flavor that can complement the ham without overwhelming it.
- Cheddar cheese – has a sharp and tangy flavor that can cut through the richness of the eggs and ham.
- Monterey Jack cheese – has a mild flavor that can melt easily and blend well with the ham and eggs.
- Swiss cheese – has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that can add a nice depth of flavor to the omelette.
However, if you want to add a little bit of spice to your omelette, you can try using pepper jack cheese. It has a mild heat that can complement the saltiness of the ham and add a little kick to your breakfast. Just be sure to use it sparingly, as it can easily overpower the other flavors in the omelette.
A Guide to Creating a Delicious Charcuterie Board with Ham and Cheese Pairings
If you’re looking to impress your guests with a fancy spread, a charcuterie board is the way to go. Here are some tips for creating the perfect ham and cheese pairing:
- Choose a variety of cheese textures and flavors to keep things interesting.
- Pair milder cheeses with lighter hams, and stronger cheeses with more flavorful hams.
- Consider adding complementary items like crackers, fruits, and nuts to your board.
When selecting your ham and cheese pairings, it’s important to consider the occasion and the preferences of your guests. For example, if you’re hosting a wine and cheese party, you may want to choose cheeses that pair well with the specific wines you’ll be serving. Similarly, if you know that some of your guests have dietary restrictions, be sure to include options that are suitable for them.
Another important factor to consider is the presentation of your charcuterie board. To make it visually appealing, arrange your items in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to access. You may want to use different types of serving dishes or boards to create a layered effect, or add decorative elements like fresh herbs or flowers to enhance the overall look.
The Science of Flavor: Why Certain Cheeses Complement Ham Better Than Others
The science of flavor can explain why certain cheeses pair better with ham than others. The fat content and texture of the cheese can affect how well it pairs with the saltiness of the ham. For example, a high fat cheese like brie can balance the saltiness of the ham and enhance its flavor, while a hard, dry cheese like parmesan may not pair as well. The acidity in the cheese can also play a role in how well it pairs with ham.
Another factor to consider when pairing cheese with ham is the intensity of the flavors. A strong, bold cheese like blue cheese can overpower the delicate flavor of ham, while a milder cheese like gouda can complement it nicely. Additionally, the type of ham being used can also affect the cheese pairing. For example, a smoky ham may pair well with a cheese that has a nutty or earthy flavor, while a sweet ham may pair better with a cheese that has a fruity or tangy flavor. By understanding the science of flavor and considering these factors, you can create the perfect cheese and ham pairing for your next meal.
From Gouda to Brie: Exploring Different Cheese Varieties for Your Ham Dish
There are countless cheese varieties to choose from when it comes to pairing with ham. Here are some lesser-known but delicious options:
- Havarti cheese – a creamy and slightly sweet cheese that pairs well with ham.
- Smokey blue cheese – a creamy and smoky cheese that can add depth to your ham dish.
- Burrata cheese – a fresh and mild cheese that can add a contrast to the saltiness of the ham.
- Comte cheese – a nutty and slightly sweet cheese that pairs well with the smokiness of the ham.
- Camembert cheese – a soft and buttery cheese that can add a creamy texture to your ham dish.
When selecting a cheese to pair with ham, it’s important to consider the texture of the cheese. Harder cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can be grated over the top of a ham dish for added flavor, while softer cheeses like Brie or Camembert can be melted on top of the ham for a creamy and decadent finish.
Another factor to consider is the origin of the cheese. For example, if you’re serving a Spanish-style ham, you may want to pair it with a Manchego cheese, which is also from Spain and has a nutty flavor that complements the ham. Similarly, if you’re serving an Italian-style ham like prosciutto, you may want to pair it with a sharp and tangy Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The Dos and Don’ts of Combining Cheese and Ham: Tips from Top Chefs
Here are some tips from top chefs on what to do and what not to do when combining cheese and ham:
- Do experiment with different cheese varieties to find the perfect pairing for your dish.
- Don’t pair overly salty cheeses with salty hams, as it can be overwhelming.
- Do consider the texture of the cheese and how it will melt or blend with the ham in your dish.
- Don’t be afraid to try unconventional pairings – you may discover a new favorite flavor combination!
The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ham: Recipe and Cheese Recommendations
A grilled cheese sandwich with ham is the ultimate comfort food. Here’s a recipe for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich:
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
- Butter one side of two slices of bread.
- Place one slice of bread, butter-side down, in the skillet.
- Add a layer of ham and your cheese of choice on top of the bread in the skillet.
- Top with the other slice of bread, butter-side up.
- Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
For the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich, we recommend using cheddar cheese, provolone cheese, or swiss cheese to complement the flavor of the ham.
How to Impress Your Guests with a Ham and Cheese Platter – A Step-by-Step Guide
A ham and cheese platter can be a show-stopping centerpiece for any gathering. Here’s how to create a stunning spread:
- Choose a variety of ham and cheese types, and arrange them on a large platter or cutting board.
- Add complementary items like crackers, bread, fruits, and nuts to the platter.
- Label each cheese type to help guests navigate the spread.
- Consider adding spreads like mustard or honey to enhance the flavor of the ham and cheese.
- Arrange the items in an aesthetically pleasing way and enjoy!
No matter what type of ham dish you’re preparing, there is a cheese out there that will complement the flavors perfectly. Experiment with different cheese varieties to find your new favorite pairing!