So way back in March I came up with the idea to host a Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night with some friends. Our Pizza Pi(e) night on March 14th (get it? 3.14) went pretty great and figured it would fun to replicate the magic. I’ve come across so many variations of cheese sandwiches since I started cooking, and I’ve made up my own combinations as well. So we planned it for March 29th. However, we ended up postponing for reasons beyond our control and moved the night to sometime in April. With two weddings to attend this month plus Easter plus my Dad’s Birthday plus Wrestlemania plus the release of Captain America, the best night for all of us was April 12. I found out at the beginning of April (after we pushed it to April) that this month was grilled cheese month which kinda blew my mind with its awesomeness. So imagine my utter shock when I saw a tweet on April 13th that the 12th was actually Grilled Cheese Day?! As my friend Adam said, the word kismet comes to mind.
Also, am I a nerd for expressing excitement over my utter cheese wealth? At one time, my fridge contained Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, Mozarella, Shredded Italian cheese blend, Ricotta, Mascarpone, Parmesan & Honeyed Goat Cheese all at once! You foodies know what I’m talking about. I ended up being left with a big tub of mascarpone, so feel free to share any of your favourite recipes with me.
We paired all of the Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches with some tomato soup. Definitely one of the most comforting comfort food combinations of all time.
A big Thank you to Ian for the pictures and Tracy for the food styling!
Note: I thank goodness for my Panini Press. For those of you that may not have one, I’ve read that the stovetop method of making grilled cheese works quite well. You basically assemble your sandwich, place it in a greased pan and cover. Cook for a few minutes, flip and repeat until nicely browned on outside and the insides have melted to the point of perfection. Whether you choose to cut in half or not, be careful. The insides are very hot and there’s no worse feeling than that burned roof of your mouth. Or being burned by cheese steam. Yep, that’s a thing. Ask my finger.
Here were our combinations:
1. Broccoli, Mozzarella & Black Pepper
– Steam the broccoli for a few minutes until lovely and bright. Make sure it retains its crispness since that crunchy texture is the star of the sandwich.
– Add lots of black pepper (don’t I always say that?)
– You absolutely must use your panini maker or pan fry the sandwich. Whatever you do, make sure it is compressed and that the Mozzarella is nice and gooey and stringy.
2. Smoked Gouda & Red Onion Marmalade
– The Marmalade can be made days beforehand. The Recipe is here.
– The smokiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the marmalade make you feel like you’re eating a fancy BBQ flavoured sandwich
– Use your panini press or the stovetop method.
3. Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Avocado
– Absolutely delicious. I think this was the favourite of the evening.
– Cook the bacon using your preferred method beforehand.
– Mash the avocado with a bit of salt, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. This can be made a few hours (or even a night before, depending on the amount of lemon you use)
– I added additional black pepper (should I even say it anymore? Just assume I always add black pepper)
– Panini Press or stovetop method.
4. Mushroom, Mozarella & Caramelized Onions
– To caramelize the onions, I added olive oil, a bay leaf, a splash of white wine, 1/4 tsp of dried rosemary & a splash of cider vinegar to the onions.
– Mushrooms were sauteed in a bit of butter, salt, pepper & soy sauce. Trust me. Soy sauce in mushrooms is the most delicious addition to a dish ever.
5. Honeyed Goat Cheese, Walnut & Caramelized Onion Crostini
– Used plait bread but really you can use any sort of thick, crusty bread.
– I mixed dried rosemary & a bit of black pepper into the goat cheese.
– Onions were caramelized with a bit of olive oil and sugar
– Toast complete crostini in 350 degree oven for about 5 -8 minutes until walnuts are toasted & cheese is melty. Constantly check to make sure nothing burns.
6. Asparagus, Ricotta & Roasted Garlic Tartines
– I plan to devote an entire post to this soon. Although I think it was the least favourite of the night, I like it for when you want a nice light lunch without heavy seasoning. Its the kinda lunch that makes you feel satisfied but not bloated when you’re finished, and keeps you full until its almost time for dinner. Its one of those meals that make u realize 4 hours after you’ve eaten that “huh…I forgot about my mid afternoon craving!”
Also, I’m quite happy to update you on the newest jump in my web savvy-ness. I now have an I’ll Cook, You Wash account on Instagram! Follow me at illcookyouwash and check out other meals I’ve made that I’ve loved but simply didn’t have a whole blog post in me for it. Sometimes you just wanna see the food. Let me know if you see something you like and I can direct you to the site/ book / my brain that was used in the creation of the meal.
I’m bringing this to Fiesta Friday because it is still Grilled Cheese Month, but let’s be honest. Anytime is the right time for grilled cheese.