How not to do Chicken Cordon Bleu . . . and what to do if at first you do it wrong

I still had ham and chicken and cheese. I decided to split two half-breasts into three slices each, layering them with ham and cheese.

The saved chicken seemed dry, so I smeared jarred pesto on both sides of the center slice and on the inside of each of the two other slices. I layed in ham and a half slice of American pepper jack cheese, covering the top of each half breast with a full slice of that cheese which is like what the burger joints use.

Wrong! No matter what I did with the oven, the cheese wouldn’t really melt. (I noticed, this morning, when I got my one-buck sausage mcmuffin at Mickey D’s drive-in window, that their cheese maintains its shape, too!)

I had plated each portion with the layers spread out a bit, which was very pretty. But the whole thing wasn’t pretty at all, and I realized I should have used a pepper jack cheese. Next time, I will.

The taste was terrific, if the texture (due to try after try to melt the darn cheese) was not. Try it. You’ll like it.

Wine? We tried a shiraz — too much kick, by far; and a pinot grigio — just right. It was, after all, a white-wine dish. But tradition means little to . . .

Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster.