Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Maddie Daly | Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In my spare time, after checking Facebook and Twitter, my go-to time-wasting website is Pinterest, the virtual board full of fashion, humor and food. However, whenever I am browsing pins on an empty stomach I immediately regret it because of all the delicious recipes the site has to offer. My favorite foods to re-pin are the various types of gourmet grilled cheese, made with all different types of bread, cheese, meats and vegetables. These sandwiches are actually works of art, and I am constantly trying (and usually failing) to replicate them. Despite the failures, I am still determined to master the gourmet grilled cheese, and I’m going to share my favorite combinations to show everyone what they are missing out on.
Caprese Grilled Cheese
Being a vegetarian, caprese is my absolute favorite kind of sandwich (if you haven’t tried Au Bon Pain’s version, walk to the library now, it’s worth the six flex points). It is even better as a steaming, melty grilled Panini; here’s how to make it:
Brush olive oil on both sides of two medium-thick slices of ciabatta bread. Use fresh mozzarella and add two slices to your bread, place two slices of tomato on top and slather the other slice of bread with pesto. Use a Panini grill or just a stovetop grill and cook until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown. If you’re feeling fancy, add a cup of tomato soup to dip it in.
*Note: A modified version of the caprese can be made in the dining hall – use shredded mozzarella cheese instead of fresh and downgrade to regular sliced bread and you still have a pretty good imitation of the real thing!
Avocado Spinach Grilled Cheese
A close second, this sandwich is almost as delicious as the caprese. I enjoy it best on a pretzel roll, but any kind of bread works. Once again, brush the bread with olive oil. Place two slices of provolone cheese on the bread, followed by a sliced-up half avocado and a handful of fresh spinach. Grill your sandwich until the cheese melts and the spinach starts to wilt and serve with a side of guacamole using the other half of your avocado.
Fried Chicken and Waffle Grilled Cheese
Alright, as a vegetarian I am not advertising this one myself, but I’ve heard from a friend that it is heavenly, although it is a bit more complicated to make. First of all you’re going to need to whip up some waffle batter and prepare two square waffles to use as “bread.” Next you’ll need about a cup of fried chicken, it’s up to you whether you are brave and/or Southern enough to make that yourself. On the waffle, stack the fried chicken, a couple of slices of American cheese and a drizzle of melted butter and honey. Grill time is a bit longer for this sandwich, so leave it on there for about eight minutes, four on each side. The cheese should melt but make sure to not burn the waffles.
Blueberry Brie Grilled Cheese
This sandwich will transport you to “un petit cafÃ©” in Paris with its Brie cheese and deliciously gourmet look. For this recipe, you’ll need two slices of Italian bread, a handful of fresh blueberries, two slices of Brie cheese and a snippet of fresh basil. Arrange the ingredients on your bread, add a dash of cinnamon sugar and grill until the cheese is melted. Although delicious any time of the day, this would be perfect for a fancy Sunday brunch.
BLT Grilled Cheese
This is a great combination of two classic favorites. It works best with a heartier, thick bread and is best with both cheddar cheese slices and swiss. Cook three to four slices of bacon, arrange them on top of the bread and cheese and top it off with two slices of fresh tomato (even better if they’re heirloom tomatoes straight out of the garden). Lather your bread with butter and grill until the cheese melts. Add some sides of grilled zucchini and corn on the cob and you have the perfect summer picnic.
Cobb Grilled Cheese
This one is for the more advanced grilled cheese connoisseur because of the amount of ingredients and prep involved. Just like a Cobb salad, this sandwich is stuffed with bleu cheese, tomato, hard-boiled egg, bacon, avocado and grilled chicken. How does this all fit on a sandwich, you might be wondering? Well it’s going to be a bit messy to eat, so if you’re planning this for a first date you might want to choose something a bit less unattractive to eat. Use whole wheat bread and spread olive oil on the outside of each slice. Start with the tomato – make sure they’re thinly sliced – then stack the avocado, sprinkle the bleu cheese, add some slices of hard-boiled egg, stack the bacon and top it with the grilled chicken. Carefully transport your sandwich to a grill and cook about four minutes per side to make sure it gets heated all the way through. Make sure you have a large stack of napkins because this is sure to be messy.
Strawberry Grilled Cheese
Maybe it’s a stretch to call this one a grilled cheese, but there’s technically cheese on it and you grill it, so I think it fits the definition. Sourdough works best for this sandwich, so spread butter on the outside of each slice. Next, spread a thin layer of strawberry preserves on one slice. Now you spread a cream cheese mixture on top – mix room-temperature cream cheese in a bowl with orange zest and honey, it should be spreadable. Spread a good amount of your mixture on top of the strawberry preserves. Next comes the fresh strawberries – prepare them by cutting them up into thin slices. If you’re feeling up to it, it will taste even better if you soak the strawberries in balsamic vinaigrette first, but it will still taste delicious with plain old strawberries. Stack as many on top of the cream cheese as you can and grill until warm. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and voila! You have a breakfast masterpiece.
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