A deft melding of creamy Fontina with bracing olives and preserved lemon makes this a hearty standout (the ham and fried egg don't hurt, either).

Serves 4


  • 8 asparagus stalks, ends removed and remainder cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced preserved Meyer lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. salted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 loaf pain de mie (or other high- quality artisan white bread), cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 6 ounces Italian-style Fontina, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 6 ounces uncured breakfast-style ham, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 eggs


    Total time: 20 minutes

    Steam (or microwave for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes at full power) asparagus until tender but still bright green. In a bowl, stir together asparagus, olives, parsley, cilantro, garlic and preserved lemon. Set aside. Butter one side of each slice of bread and lay bread, butter side down, on a clean cutting board.

    Divide Fontina evenly across 4 slices of bread to form bottom layer. Dividing equally among 4 sandwiches, spoon asparagus mixture on top of Fontina, place ham on top of asparagus mixture, and top ham with mozzarella. Place a slice of bread, butter side up, on top of mozzarella.

    In a large skillet (or on a griddle), grill sandwiches on medium-low heat, flipping halfway through, until bread is crispy and cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes.

    While sandwiches are grilling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp. butter to nonstick skillet, then slip eggs into skillet. Cook until desired doneness. Place a cooked egg on top of each grilled cheese and serve.

    From Heidi Gibson, coauthor of Grilled Cheese Kitchen.

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