The Hamembert: Ham and Camembert Cheese Panini with Jam and Arugula

The Hamembert Panini A few months ago, I inhaled the book Bringing up Bébé, which is a really fun look into French parenting by an American journalist living in Paris, who compares French and American parenting and their vastly different results (read: why do French kids eat more than chicken nuggets?).

I got some great insight into parenting…and also managed to work up an insatiable need for brie cheese and bread.

Fortunately, this was just before the holidays, and my grocery store kept running sales of buy-one-get-one-free brie and camembert wheels, which is to say that almost every day for the past two months, my lunch has consisted of a hunk of next-door bakery bread, a wedge of creamy brie or camembert, and an apple.

The Hamembert Panini

And I was perfectly content to eat this combination for lunch for the rest of time until one day about two weeks ago, I was especially hungry. So I took out some leftover ham and added that to my mid-day cheese plate.

But then my panini maker caught my eye. And like others, I am sort of obsessed with our panini maker right now because those grill marks are just so. gosh. dang. sexy.

And I thought…this would make a killer panini. Salty ham, creamy camembert…a sandwich was born, and it’s name was to be The Hamembert.

The Hamembert Panini

I played around with this sandwich for a couple of weeks…adding sautee´d apples, then pears, with and without onions, trying the onions caramelized, with spinach, with arugula, with fig jam, apricot preserves, and finally raspberry jam.

All of the variations were good, but The Hamembert needed stability. So I finally came to rest with thin camembert wedges topped with raw onion slices, ham, arugula, and raspberry jam.

And there you have it: The Hamembert.
Salty, sweet, creamy, peppery goodness, literally sandwiched between two pieces of buttered bread and grilled into warm and melty panini gold.

The Hamembert Panini

If this becomes your lunch for the next two months, I won’t tell if you won’t.

(Budget Tip! I like to buy a large ham when it’s mega on sale…cook it, slice it, and then freeze it in individual portions for us to eat on nights when cooking dinner just isn’t happening…saves us from take-out, and now I always have ham on hand for The Hamembert. Win!)

The Hamembert: Ham and Camembert Cheese Panini with jam and arugula

The Hamembert: Ham and Camembert Cheese Panini with jam and arugula

(recipe by me!)

(yields 1 sandwich, easily multiplied)

The Hamembert is a panini consisting of camembert cheese, ham, onions, arugula, and raspberry jam. It's a great balance of flavors, and as you can see in the recipe, can be easily manipulated to use what you've got on hand.


2 slices sturdy white bread (like sourdough, French, or peasant), sliced

butter (about 1 tbsp.)

app. 2 oz. camembert cheese (or brie)

1 tiny wedge of an onion, cut into thin slices (about 2 tbsp.)

2 thin slices ham (from a roast or deli ham)

1 tbsp. raspberry jam (can also use fig or apricot preserves)

2 small handfuls of arugula (or spinach)


Butter one side of each slice of bread. The buttered sides will be the outside of the sandwich.

Turn one piece, butter side down, and place a layer of camembert, then onions, then ham on the sandwich. Spread the jam on the inside of the other piece of bread and place on top of the sandwich. Take a few small pieces of camembert, and place them on top of the ham to "glue" the sandwich together.

To Grill:

Option 1: Heat a frying pan over med-low heat, or an electric griddle to 300*, or your George Foreman grill, and cook each side of the sandwich until golden brown (about 3 mins. per side), flipping halfway through.

Option 2:Place sandwich in a panini press and grill for about 3 mins.


Remove panini from cooking device of choice. Gently peel back top slice of bread and put two small handfuls of arugula on each sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half.

Serve immediately!

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13 thoughts on “The Hamembert: Ham and Camembert Cheese Panini with Jam and Arugula

  1. Ohhhhh, this sounds like a sandwich from heaven! I’ve got to try this recipe, however, I don’t have a panni press so I’ll just grill it in a pan. I sure love your recipes and cooking idea Liz. Stay warm.

    • What’s funny is that I visited France for 2 weeks during a college internship, and I was still so picky, I did NOT take advantage of all those great cheeses. #regret

  2. And, you end up with a shank and get to make navy bean soup, always a staple when I was growing up. We used the Great Northern back then but I prefer chick peas now. They hold their shape better with repeated reheats. And are better tasting too, I think.

    • Glad to know there are more pun lovers out there. As soon as I made it, I started thinking about how funny Hamembert was and even texted my husband :)

  3. I have a sudden urge to buy a plane ticket to France. This looks amazing! My brother-in-law is french and my nephew is the BEST eater I know. He is only 1 but he eats everything. Cheese, pate’, lamb ect. There really is something to the French way of raising your children!

    • So it’s true! We’re working on it with our little guy; time will tell if he’ll be super picky like I once was or if I can get him to eat like the French!!

  4. I went a bit crazy with the camembert purchasing last week (3 small wheels with very short expiry dates), which meant I need ideas to use them up fast! Found your recipe via foodgawker, made it for hubby’s lunch and he could not stop raving about it! I did do a few mods, I used bacon instead of ham, also used a grill as I don’t have a panini press. I was going to use spinach as the greens but forgot to put it in altogether, ooppssss… Will be making this again, hopefully with the spinach that time.

    • Glad you liked it and that we could help you out with all of that Camembert! It hasn’t been on sale here in forever; I’m a little jealous! Bacon would great with this!

  5. I love how you came up with the name: Hamembert. It sounds scrumptious but I’m sure it is. Who doesn’t love bacon and cheese combi, right? Many thanks for the budget tip too. I’m glad I was able to “discover” this site.

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