Thursday, August 8, 2013

Harry's Bar Famous "Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich" | Friday Night Bites

Who doesn’t want to be transported to Venice Italy for an evening?  I can’t imagine someone turning down such a special invitation – certainly not me.  If you have ever traveled to Venice, then you probably have stepped into the famous Harry’s Bar.  This is the home of the world famous Bellini cocktail which derived its name from the unique pink color, which reminded the owner of the color of the toga of a saint in the painting by 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.  It is simply pureed white peaches and Prosecco.

Harry’s Bar is steeped in history with its roots beginning in 1931 by the bartender Guiseppe Cipriani.  History dictates that Harry Pickering, a wealthy young man from Boston frequented the Hotel Europe where Cipriani was bartending.  Harry exclaimed one day that his family cut off his funds due to his excessive drinking, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $5,000 dollars).  Approximately two years later, Harry returned and gave Cipriani 50,000 lire in return.  Cipriani was very thankful and appreciative.  Harry said – “Here’s the money.  And to show you my appreciation, here’s 40,000 more, enough to open a bar.  We will call it Harry’s Bar.”

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Despite not physically visiting Harry’s Bar in Venice YET, I am fixated with all things Harry’s Bar.  It is on my bucket list along with several other Italian destinations.  Hoping this list item gets checked off soon.  Smile. Several years ago, I mean, several years ago, I purchased the cookbook.  One of my absolute favorite things to make is the Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich.  It is a perfect nibble to enjoy with a fresh Bellini cocktail.  This is not the grilled ham and cheese sandwich you grew up eating – it has a gourmet flair and spin. 

Hubby and I jetted off to Venice, figuratively last weekend when we enjoyed a chilled fresh Bellini Cocktail along with several of these addictive little sandwiches.  We sat outside where we enjoyed the summer evening warmth and gentle breeze along with the soothing sounds of the fountain in the background.  It was a perfect evening.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Makes approximately 48 Sandwiches

1 ½ pound Gruyere cheese, grated
¼ C. Grated parmesan cheese
2 Egg yolks
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 to 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 to 4 T. Half and half
24 Slices of white bread
12 Slices of Black Forest Ham
Olive oil

In a food processor, add the cheese, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon and cayenne. Pulse until combined. Add one tablespoon at a time of the half and half until you have a smooth and creamy consistency.

Lay out two slices of bread and spread the cheese mixture over each slice and add a slice of the ham on one side. Put the two pieces together and cut off the crusts. Brush olive oil on each side of the sandwich. Cut in half and then each piece in half again, lengthwise. Repeat the process until you have enough sandwiches.

Use a stovetop griddle to cook the sandwiches over medium heat until each side is golden brown and the cheese is melted.


  1. Now if only we were at Harry's Bar enjoying these fabulous sandwiches along with our Bellinis! ;)

  2. Wow never heard of a grilled cheese like this. Totally trying this, so many great flavors!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. I love to hear the story behind historic places! Wow - talk about a generous pay back. :)

    These sandwiches look scrumptious! Worcestershire sauce, Gruyere & Parmesan cheese...what's not to love!

  4. i love that the direction is 'until you have enough sandwiches'. that could be a long time coming. :)

  5. Our 'pub' in Venice used to be the Gritti Palace just about 3-4 minutes along the walking street and then sharp left :) ! Harry's Bar: well heaps of times . . . Please do not fret if you are unable to be just there in the foreseeable future . . . history romantic and . . . ? Hmm: actually can well do without the Bellini . . . Venice is SO full of riches, food- and otherwise, research and dream of something far newer and more with it!!!!

  6. Gruyere, Black Forest Ham, Parmesan, oh my this sounds like one amazing sandwich! Venice here we come!!

  7. Sounds and looks like a delicious grilled sandwich and I'm sure your appetizer version was fabulous. I too want to go to Italy and travel the country maybe with our traveling friend Rowena someday!

  8. Perfect little bites to transport you to Venice! With all the traveling we do, Italy remains my top dream destination. After years of being away from home, my husband will only travel abroad when business requires it! So that leaves my sister - or maybe our foodie contingent to join me on a trip :)

  9. Oh, what a fancy sandwich! Love it. :) I've never heard of Harry's Bar but I do intend on going to Venice one day. So I'll keep that in mind!

  10. I love your grown-up version of a childhood classic. Delicious! I've spent a lot of time in Venice over the years and could use something like this to transport me right back there.

  11. I'd love to visit Harry's Bar with you! I never got around to visiting when I went to Venice (but I have the cookbook!). I can eat a plateful of these sandwiches with a bellini or two. :)


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