I gave myself a bit of a Spring Break this week from sharing delicious recipes! The reason wasn’t a glamorous vacation, or even a staycation, or even leaving work at a reasonable hour. Nope, I felt like zoning out after work, but this was not possible due to the four dogs we had in our house last week. That’s right, four dogs.
In addition to the two usual suspects, Mops and Ketch and the foster, Sammy, my parents went on vacation and we kept their dog, sweet little Belle. Belle was “my” dog, a Christmas present in high school, but was of course really a family pet. She defies all of the stereotypes associated with her breed (teacup poodle – chihuahua mix, or “teacup chihuahua”); she doesn’t bark, yip, bite at ankles, or do anything remotely annoying.
She spends her golden years in the garden with my mom and her favorite pastime is accompanying them on fishing trips or boat days. She’s an awesome little dog. We like to call her Queen Belle when she’s staying her, because she keeps a close watch on the younger dogs and makes sure that they don’t bother her. It’s so funny how deferential these big, rough-playing pups are to this tiny old lady. I keep hoping that some of Belle’s amazing disposition will rub off on Mops, but alas, it doesn’t seem likely. Mops still hates everything about everything.
Anyway, with all of these dogs in the house, we haven’t really left much
although we’ve considered abandoning them and running away a couple of times. This brunch recipe is perfect for the days when you do have a couple of hours to slowly chip away at a homemade meal. I developed this recipe around a serious craving for some of the good-quality sharp white cheddar block that we had in the fridge. I grated a bowl, beheld it, and tried to figure out how I could eat as much of it as possible without it being weird. This recipe was my answer to the beguiling call of the cheddar.
The savory waffles form the “bread” in the sandwich, filled with smoked ham, sauteed greens, and a touch of mustard. I added a bit of the white cheddar sauce to the inside of the sandwich as well as pouring it over the top, and crowned the whole thing with a fried egg, sunny-side up. After a brunch of this size (and a couple of mimosas), you really, really, won’t feel tempted to leave the house. The only thing you’ll want to leave is your pants. I suggest having some stretchy ones and a spot on the couch ready for your inevitable Sunday nap. Enjoy!
Savory Corn & Cheddar Waffle Ham Sandwich with White Cheddar-Mustard Sauce
For the corn and cheddar waffles, you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup yellow corn kernels
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- 3/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. each black pepper & sea salt
- Prepare waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Preheat oven to 200.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix oil, eggs, and milk together. Stir in sugar and spices. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir until smooth.
- Add corn and grated cheddar last. Gently mix to combine.
- Pour batter into pre-heated waffle iron and cook to your liking.
- When finished, transfer cooked waffles onto a baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep them warm while you cook the white cheddar sauce.
For the white cheddar sauce, you will need:
- 2 tbsp. garlic and herb butter (or plain butter with a little garlic salt and dried parsley)
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar
- 1/2 tsp. each black pepper & sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. stone-ground mustard
White cheddar sauce method:
- Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic salt and dried parsley, if using plain butter.
- Add flour and stir for two minutes, careful not to brown.
- Gradually whisk in milk.
- Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat back to medium and simmer until mixture has thickened, stirring constantly. This takes about three to five minutes.
- Stir in mustard, black pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder, then remove sauce from heat.
- Add cheese, stirring until it is completely and thoroughly incorporated.
- Let the mixture stand at room temperature for up to two hours while you’re cooking everything else (and perhaps having a mimosa). Rewarm before using.
To assemble, you will need:
- Sauteed greens
- On low heat, stir together 2 cups spinach or other greens, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. garlic until greens have wilted. Lightly salt and set aside.
- 2 slices smoked ham per sandwich
- I placed the ham on the baking sheet (in the oven at 250) next to the waffles to keep the ham warm while I was getting everything else ready.
- Extra stone-ground mustard
- This is optional, but suggested if you like a bit of extra heat on your sandwich.
- One egg per sandwich, served sunny-side up
- You’ll have to make these just prior to serving.