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A new take on the ol’ grilled cheese sandwich

Reinventing grilled cheese with Christine Cushing.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened (25 ml)
  • 1 king oyster mushroom thinly sliced 
  • 4 slices country bread
  • 2-3 oz. fontina cheese, grated (60-90 g)
  • 4 thin slices pancetta, fried until crisp
  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. of the butter on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and wipe out the pan. 
  2. Butter one side of four slices of bread with the softened butter. Put them buttered side down on a cutting board. Top the unbuttered side of  bread with 1/2 the amount of cheese, then the pancetta and then mushrooms. Top with the remaining cheese. Butter one side of the remaining bread slices. Place on top of the cheese buttered side up.  
  3. Heat the frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and cook, turning once, until golden and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Makes  2 sandwiches 

Rosemary scented Grilled  Blue Cheese and Pear Sandwich 

  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 rosemary sprig, cut in half
  • 4 slices  multi-grain bread, about 3/4-inch thick  
  • 3-ounces St. Benedictine or other soft blue cheese, room temperature (85 grams)
  • 3 tbsp. butter (45 ml)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, reduced ( 50 ml) or vin cotto 
  1. Soften the cheese a little with a sandwich spreader or knife so that the cheese will spread easily on the bread. 
  2. Spread a thin layer of cheese on one side of each slice of bread. Place several slices of pear on 2 pieces of the bread (on top of the cheese). Finish with another piece of bread on top (cheese on the inside of the sandwich).
  3. Add butter to a large non-stick sauté pan on medium-low heat. Bruise the sprig of rosemary with the back of a knife. Add to the pan. Cook the rosemary for 1 to 2 minutes to infuse the butter. Carefully remove the rosemary and discard.
  4. Add the sandwiches to the same pan. Press lightly with a spatula. Cook sandwiches until bread is golden on the outside and cheese starts melting, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Keep warm. 
  5. Drizzle with vin cotto or reduced balsamic vinegar. Makes 2 large grilled cheese sandwiches 

Reverse Grilled Cheese sandwich 

This is a cool take on a classic using a lesser known cheese – halloumi  (very popular in Cyprus and Greece)  on the outside and putting a slice of bread in the middle. The cheese has an unusual quality of not melting so it’s perfect for pan frying or grilling. 

  • 1 piece brioche bread 3 1/2” square, toasted and cut into 2 triangles
  • 4 thin rectangular slices Halloumi cheese, about ¾ oz each
  • Olive oil for frying 
  • 2 tsp roasted red peppers or tomato relish ( 10 ml) –store bought  
  1. Plug in a panini press and brush with olive oil.  
  2. Lay in one slice of Halloumi cheese.  
  3. Place a dollop of tomato relish in centre, top with a toasted slice of brioche, another dollop of relish and lastly the second slice of cheese.  
  4. Cover with lid and press for about 2 minutes , until cheese has golden brown grill marks. 


Monday, March 21, 2011