It’s hard to improve on a melted cheese, tomato and jamon sandwich, but somehow Miguel Maestre has done it. The trick is putting one of the ingredients – wait for it – on the outside.

“I’m always looking for different ways to maximise the texture and flavour of ingredients in my cooking,” writes the Spanish-born celebrity chef in the introduction to his recipe. “I’ve never seen anyone make jaffles this way before, and that’s why I’m extremely proud of this recipe, my signature jaffle.”

He should be – it’s so simple yet clever. In fact, Maestre has only one tip to making it. “Just don’t eat it straight away as that tomato will be a million degrees and will burn your tongue.”

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The recipe comes from his latest cookbook, Feast. Maestre was born in Murcia in the south of Spain but moved to Sydney when he finished his chef apprenticeship at 21. He worked in a number of kitchens – including as head chef at Number One, the bistro owned by the late Tony Bilson, who is regarded as the “godfather” of Australian cuisine. Maestre opened his own place, El Toro Loco, when he was just 28 years old. These days you might know him as co-host of TV show The Living Room and winner of I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!

Jamon-and-manchego jaffle
Serves: 2
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Butter, for spreading
4 slices of white bread
2 ripe truss tomatoes
2 small garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt flakes

Black pepper, freshly ground
150g (1.5 cups) grated manchego
6 thin slices of jamon
6 sage leaves

Lightly butter the bread on both sides and get your sandwich press heating. Grate the tomato into a large bowl, discarding the peel. Stir in the garlic and oil, and season well with salt and pepper.

Spread half the grated cheese over one slice of bread. Top with half the garlicky tomato mixture and sandwich with another slice of bread. Repeat for the second sandwich.

Wrap three slices of jamon around each sandwich and arrange the sage leaves on top. Place in the sandwich press and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sage leaves and jamon are crisp and the cheese has melted.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before eating – that hot tomato can be lethal.

Feast by Miguel Maestre, is published by Plum, $39.99. Photography by Jeremy Simons. Buy copy here.

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