Comfort me with apples: Grilled cheddar and apple sandwich with savory raspberry coulis

When I was growing up, afternoon snacks were almost exclusively my own province; like so many of my peers, my single mother was a working mother, which meant that for a few blissful hours every day, I got to be master of my domain–with all the rights and privileges that entails. Among those privileges were: complete control over the TV, first crack at any magazines that came in the mail, and my pick of the contents of the refrigerator.
Cheddar and apple grilled cheese with raspberry coulis
Admittedly, this was slightly less exciting than it sounds–cooking was not generally my mother’s top priority, so we were typically leftover-free, and at this point, I couldn’t even boil water without setting off the smoke alarm. As such, the afternoon snack was usually quite a sedate affair. Perennial favorites included: a bowl of cheerios with sliced bananas; a few spoonfuls of peanut butter (still a favorite); ginger snaps; and, the snack that got mom’s stamp of approval every time–a crisp green apple with a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

If you’ve never tried this combination, let me take a moment to urge you to try it IMMEDIATELY. Go on, I’ll wait.

salad


Awesome, right? The tangy, sweet bite of the apple is such a perfect foil for the creamy, salty cheese; it’s a juxtaposition of almost ridiculous perfection, each element complemented by the other and elevated to something almost unreal. So, when Maggie revealed to me that this is National Grilled Cheese month, it should come as a surprise to no-one that the apple and cheese combination was among the first ideas to pop in to my head. Of course, I decided to give it a little more oomph, in the form of a tart, savory raspberry coulis (which does double duty as a refreshing salad dressing), but the basic idea stays the same: tangy cheddar, meet tart apple. Light snack, meet delicious dinner. Grownup Shiv, you already know Kid Shiv (but I’ll leave you two to get reacquainted).

Grilled cheddar and apple sandwich with savory raspberry coulis

6oz white cheddar cheese, grated and divided
1 green apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
4 slices bread
butter

Coulis:
1/2 c fresh raspberries
2tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  1. Start with the coulis: in a food processor, whizz together the raspberries, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to taste. Set aside.
  2. Heat a heavy saucepan (I like cast iron) over medium heat. Butter the bread slices on one side. On two of the slices, spread the unbuttered side with raspberry coulis.
  3. Place two slices of bread butter side down (coulis side up) in the skillet. Take half of the cheese and spread it evenly over the two slices in the skillet. Then, place half the apples in a thin layer on each slice. Distribute the remaining half of the cheese over the top of the apples–at this point you should have bread-coulis-cheese-apple-cheese.
  4. Place the remaining pieces of bread on the tops of the sandwiches–butter side up. Press down with your spatula to really mash everything together. Cover loosely and cook for five minutes.
  5. After five minutes, uncover and carefully flip the sandwich. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until it is oozing and amazing. Serve with a nice salad and a drizzle of the remaining coulis. Makes 2 sandwiches.
In cheese, sandwich, vegetarian

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