And we’re back with another fancy grilled cheese favorite. (If you missed yesterday, go here to read about grilled provolone with pesto and roasted red peppers.) My favorite cheese indulgence as of late is tangy, creamy brie. It is part of one of my favorite appetizers along with caramelized onions and mushrooms, so today I’m doing a play on that and making grilled brie with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar.
Once again, I’m using homemade focaccia and because I had some extra time on my hands, I killed an hour caramelizing a diced onion. The real hard part making this sandwich is slicing brie thinly without making a sticky mess. Usually it’s a good idea to let brie sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using it, but in this case it works better to slice first while it’s still cold and firm, then let it sit. You could leave the rind on, it’s completely edible, but some people would rather not eat it and it does kind of get in the way of the cheese being completely smooth and melty. Your call. If you are going to de-rind your cheese, cut off the amount you think you’ll use from the wheel (if you are starting with a wheel) and turn the piece on its side. Slice down the top and bottom (which are now vertical), then set the slice back on it’s bottom and slice off the rind around the edge. From there it’s probably easiest to let the whole piece sit and slice pieces for the sandwich as you need them so they don’t end up stuck back together.
The recipe below has both a basic grilled cheese recipe and the gussied-up sandwiches from this fancy grilled cheese mini-series. Click to print, it’s that easy.
- 8 slices fresh bread or squares of focaccia
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces white cheddar cheese, sliced
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese, sliced
- 1. Heat a wide, shallow frying pan, griddle, or grill pan over medium heat.
- 2. Lay out four slices of bread and evenly divide one-fourth of each cheese between each piece. Make sure the cheese covers the bread all the way to the edges.
- 3. Top each slice of bread with another slice of bread and butter the top of each sandwich all the way to the edges.
- 4. Place as many sandwiches as will fit without crowding in the pan, butter side down. Butter what is now the top of the sandwich. Cook until cheese is starting to melt and the bottom of the sandwich is golden, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwich and cook another 5 minutes and then remove from pan.
- 5. If cooking in batches keep an eye on the temperature and adjust to prevent the bread from browning to quickly before the cheese melts.
- 6. Cook remaining sandwiches and serve while hot.
!Provolone, Pesto, and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich: substitute all cheese for provolone. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on each of four slices of bread, top with patted-dry and sliced roasted red peppers (jarred), and then top with provolone cheese and remaining bread slices. Proceed as usual.
!Brie, Caramelized Onion, and Balsamic Vinegar Sandwich: substitute all cheese for brie. Prepare brie by trimming of rind and thinly slicing. Place slices on each of four slices of bread, top with 1 heaping tablespoon caramelized onions and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Top with remaining bread and proceed as usual.
!Brie and Blackberry Jam Sandwich: substitute all cheese for brie. Prepare brie by trimming of rind and thinly slicing. Spread each of four slices of bread with blackberry jam and then top with brie slices and remaining bread. Add a thin slice of prosciutto, if desired, and proceed as usual.
What about you, do you eat the rind on a piece of cheese or try to avoid it?
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