In a hurry the other night but in the mood for something good, I pan-grilled a ham steak and fashioned a tasty topping with Gruyere, nonfat "cream" and mustard, resulting in a sort of croque monsieur without the bread.

It was just as simple as this:

Grate about 1/2 cup of Gruyere, place it in a bowl, and mix with 1/8 cup cream, half-and-half, or nonfat half-and-half (a surprisingly effective substitute), 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard, the American Dijon), and fresh-grated nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Stir together and set aside.

Paint a tiny amount of olive oil on the surface of a nonstick sautee pan, and heat a smashed clove of garlic in it until the garlic is golden and aromatic. Put in a small ham steak (about 10 ounces to serve two), and pan-grill over high heat for just a minute or two on each side until it's hot and browning. Reduce heat, spoon the grated cheese mix over the ham slice, cover, and cook for another minute or two or just until the cheese melts.

Serve with a salad and bread, and enjoy.

Although ham can be a challenging wine match, the cheese topping bridged the gap and turned the entree into an excellent partner for a red Alion, a pricey but delicious Spanish Ribera del Duero.