Archived entries for cheese sandwich

The Month of Grilled Cheese

Toward the end of last March, we made tiramisu. We made old-fashioned cream scones.

We made succulent salmon and spicy nut mix. There was no-knead bread and sunchoke soup.

All this variety, and then we had an idea for April.cheese

Why not spend a month honoring National Grilled Cheese Month? Why not make only grilled cheese–fantastic, wacky variations on grilled cheese–until May?

Let’s just say, we’re older and wise now, and not actually repeating the experiment in 2010. But if you want to try a month of grilled cheese madness–or if you just want a few delicious and unusual sandwiches, check out the recipes below.

Pictured above, from left to right:

1. Cornbread Grilled Cheese with Poblano and Avocado

2. Grilled Cheddar and Applie Sandwich with Raspberry Coulis

3. Grilled Smoked Mozzarella with Maple-Caramelized Bacon

4. Tomato Soup Grilled Cheese (the soup is in the sandwich)

5. Grilled Sweet Five-Spice Sandwich

6. Grilled Goat’s Cheese with Proscuitto and Eucalyptus Honey

7. Grilled Fontina with Proscuitto-wrapped Melon

8. Grilled Caprese Sandwich

9. Greek-ish Grilled Feta Sandwich with Green Garlic

10. Smoky Grilled Cheese with Sopressata and Sage

11. Grilled Manchego with Fig Jam and Olives

12. Brie and Nutella Grilled Cheese

That’s all, folks: Sweet five-spice grilled goodness.

And lo, we come to the end! I’d rather hoped to end our amazing adventures in grilled cheese with…well…a bit more of a bang. I wanted to come out with a real showstopper, but as Winona Ryder said in “Welcome Back, Roxy Carmichael,” it’s good to want things.

Grilled sweet five-spice sandwich

The initial idea of this sandwich was, essentially, to grill a cinnamon roll: wrap a spicy, creamy filling in a nice yeasty bread and have at it. After talking to Biscuit about it, we decided that that was entirely too tame an approach. And so, the idea transmogrified: I would make a brown sugar and five-spice caramel and pair it with a wonderful, sweet, cream-cheese-frosting-esque concoction. Yes!

No.

As Biscuit put it, it would really be better to come up with a sandwich that would be more than just two spreadables mashed together. So the recipe changed again: brown-sugar-and-five-spice pecans would replace the caramel ribbon. Fine, yes, awesome! Until I burnt the nuts (I am still getting used to my new oven). Being a stoic and stubborn sort, I decided to use them anyway, figuring that the burnt sugar taste would be okay once it was drenched in more sugar! Right? Right.

Grilled sweet five spice sandwich

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Grilled goat’s cheese with prosciutto and eucalyptus honey.

Dudes and darlings,

I’m moving on Saturday (which means my life is in complete and utter disarray), so I’m going to keep this one short.

prosciugoat

My kitchen is largely governed by its own holy trinity: tangy, salty, and sweet. I try to apply a balance of these sensations whenever possible, which is how I end up with things like honey soy salmon, or a sweet-spicy coconut and lime curry. There’s something about the unexpectedness of the combination that makes my taste buds sing, and something about the combination itself that lends itself to grilled cheese. Thus, this realization has been particularly helpful to me this month as I’ve scrabbled to come up with new and exciting combinations. Having the lodestar of salty/sweet/tangy has given me some excellent direction along the way; it certainly informed the latest concoction, grilled chevre with prosciutto and honey.

My ulterior motive in creating this sandwich was my desire to use some of the lovely eucalyptus honey I’d picked up during my last trip to California. Though I probably could have quite merrily used my garden-variety, honey-bear-type-honey, I wanted to add a little whiff of nostalgia to the proceedings, and was only marginally deterred by the fact that it had gone completely solid with crystallization (a tip: if your honey goes solid, just put it in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for about 30 seconds). I knew from experience that this honey pairs beautifully with chevre, and that chevre does exciting textural things when heated, so they seemed a natural pairing.

cheese and honey

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Cornbread Grilled Cheese with Poblano and Avocado

Dear readers, I’m not going to lie to you. This sandwich was a bit messy to eat. But it’s super delicious, and possibly my favorite grilled cheese experiment yet. The sweetness of (Yankee) cornbread plays off the spicy cheddar cheese and smoky poblano pepper. A squeeze of lime adds a much-needed splash of acid, and the avocado doubles the creaminess of a regular grilled cheese. If the time were right, you could throw a tomato in there, and I’m sure that would be tasty too.

You could certainly make this grilled cheese on regular bread. It would hold together better, and you’d get to pay more attention to the tasty filling. But it’s kind of fun to experiment, right? And cornbread is delicious. It just crumbles a little, which is why I recommend a no-flip method. After cooking the sandwich on low in an ovensafe pan, slide it into the broiler to melt the cheese and crisp up the top. Flipping this beast might be a disaster.

Another option would be to make this as an open-faced sandwich, in case you don’t really want to eat gobs of cornbread. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m including my mother’s recipe for cornbread here. It has a much nicer texture than store-bought, and really is a snap to whip together. Stir it up, pop in the oven, and have a beer while it cooks. By the time you’ve prepped the sandwich ingredients, it’s ready to go. Leftovers are delicious with Lab Party Six-Way Chili, a recipe you should totally try. Or top with fresh fruit and ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.

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Grilled Fontina with Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

We’re still going strong with National Grilled Cheese Month—we still have some really good combinations for you. But I may have to swear off the stuff once we hit May. National Salad Month, anyone?

I thought I’d follow Shiv’s spin on an Italian-classic-turned-sandwich with one of my own: a grilled cheese stuffed with thinly sliced prosciutto and sweet cantaloupe.

It’s a combination that makes me think of sunshine, and eating outdoors, and melons so ripe they are fragrant before you cut them open, perfect with crisp glasses of Prosecco. It’s meant to transport you to a summer afternoon at an Italian villa where you sit grazing on antipasti, taking in the view. . .

Sounds better than making grilled cheese in my tiny apartment to eat on the couch while the April showers pour down outside, not that I’ve ever been to an Italian villa. But it’s on my to-do list.

Creamy Italian fontina cheese is the key to this sandwich. I added a little shaved parmesan as well, but I actually think that was too much, throwing the salty-sweet balance too far toward salt. Use plenty of fontina, and you’ll be pleased. Make sure the melon is good and ripe. A few slices wrapped in prosciutto won’t make your sandwich wet, and the sweetness is a perfect counterbalance to the richness of the cheese and the salty ham.

It’s just fresh enough to help us last until spring decides to be sunny.

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