Monday, April 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Sandwiches

I've been on a bit of a grilled cheese kick recently, sparked by my visit to Grilled Cheese Grill. A little while ago when I was in the neighborhood of little t american baker in SE Portland, I seized the opportunity to try a Deluxe Grilled Cheese Sandwich (ordered with bacon, for a bit extra) on their fantastic Sally Lunn bread.
Toasted to perfection.
Delicious melty goodness.
The bread was absolutely fantastic-- enough that I almost thought I would like it better by itself so I could just enjoy the bread without any distractions. But then I'm kind of weird that way... on Christmas Eve, Dave's family has a buffet dinner centered around cold-cut sandwiches on his mom's delicious homemade dinner rolls. But I will always have the rolls plain with butter and the cheese and meat separately so they don't get in the way of enjoying the buttery goodness of the rolls.

But back to little t baker... the sandwich was delicious: great cheese, high-quality bacon, amazing bread. I think an appointment with a cardiologist is not in order. Now if only it had something sweet and tangy to contrast with the cheese... oh wait, reminder to self: destroying my food cred by my hang-up with Miracle Whip on Grilled Cheese is not a good idea. :)


So is there a grilled cheese sandwich out there that will satisfy that craving for something sweet and tangy along with the cheese? On a Saturday, Dave and I tried out a recipe I had cut out from FoodDay in The Oregonian ages ago for a grilled cheese sandwich with grilled pear and aged Gouda.

Sauteeing the pear.
I didn't actually grill the sandwich on an outdoor grill like the recipe recommends-- I just used a griddle for the sandwich and I sauteed the pears. I also ran out of Gouda midway so I used Dubliner white cheddar to fill it out. 
Grated Gouda and Dubliner cheese
The recipe also referred to a "master recipe" for grilling up the sandwich-- which I unfortunately neglected to cut out a year and a half ago when I originally found the recipe. I figured I could make a grilled cheese sandwich without particular instructions, so I just cooked it up.
Grilling up the cheese.
The flavor combination of pear and Gouda with a little bit of thyme was fantastic. Unfortunately, the only bread I had on hand when I decided to conduct this experiment was Orowheat Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (curse my health-consciousness!). So I will have to conduct this experiment again sometime with some good artisan bread-- maybe even Little T Baker Sally Lunn bread.


The finished sandwich, cooked on Orowheat Whole Wheat, which was-- unfortunately-- all I had on hand.

Grilled Pear and Aged Gouda Grilled Cheese

Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 (1/4-inch-thick) slices of ripe but firm pear (unpeeled)
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 5/8-inch-thick slices good-quality artisan bread (avoid ciabatta, which has too many holes)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed shredded aged gouda

Instructions

Brush the pear slices lightly with some oil, sprinkle with the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Grill the slices over medium heat (see note) for a few minutes until warm and starting to brown a bit.
Assemble and grill the sandwich as in the master recipe.
Note: To check grill temperature, count the seconds you can hold your hand, palm side down, 2 to 3 inches above the rack, until it feels uncomfortable: 4 seconds for medium.

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And just for reference, in case you wanted to actually grill your sandwich on the grill, I found the master recipe online after the fact.

Master Recipe for Grilled Cheese on the Grill

Published August 11, 2009

Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 5/8-inch-thick slices good-quality artisan bread (avoid ciabatta, which has too many holes)
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar
  • 2 to 3 very thin slices tomato
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Light a gas or charcoal grill and heat to medium (see note).
Brush one side of each piece of bread lightly with olive oil (make sure the slices will line up properly once you sandwich them together). Put the bread on a cutting board or plate, oiled sides down, and spread the un-oiled sides with the mustard. Distribute the cheese evenly over both slices of bread, arrange the tomatoes on one slice, and season with salt and pepper.
Put both pieces of bread on the grill, cheese side up, and close the lid; cook for about 1 minute — this will help the cheese melt.
With a spatula, take the bread from the grill, put the slices together like a sandwich and return it to the grill. Close the lid and cook another 1 to 2 minutes on each side until the bread is nicely browned and toasted and the cheese is beginning to ooze from the center.
Transfer to a cutting board, let rest about a minute to firm up a touch (so the layers don't slide apart when you cut the sandwich). Cut in half or quarters, and serve.
Note: To check grill temperature, count the seconds you can hold your hand, palm side down, 2 to 3 inches above the rack, until it feels uncomfortable: 4 seconds for medium.

1 comment:

lynnr said...

...good thing I just ate lunch or it would have made me crazy looking at the pictures.