What We Dunked
March 21, 2008
Now that I told you about the extremely delicious and completely comforting new tomato soup recipe that’s been placed securely in my repertoire, it’s only fair that I share a spectacular grilled cheese sandwich recipe with you too. Stop rolling your eyes! I know what you’re thinking: a recipe for grilled cheese? I was skeptical, too, but after one bite, that skepticism melted (insert laugh track, or maybe just more eye-rolling) away. Apparently, even grilled cheese sandwiches need recipes sometimes.
Grilled cheese sandwiches were one of the first things I learned to cook. And while my ingredients of choice have changed a bit (no more Kraft singles or Velveeta, though if I am very, very honest with myself and try really hard not to think about things like ingredient lists and “What actually is this?” I might actually still like a sandwich featuring just those cheeses; or “cheeses”), melding two pieces of stiff bread and a hunk or two (or six) of cold cheese into a melty sandwich is about as satisfying as it gets.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
I found a recipe on Epicurious (see, I told you there were recipes for this kind of thing) that came from New York’s Amy’s Bread, one of our many food-related stops during our tour of Manhattan last weekend. And while we didn’t sample the grilled cheese, it was clear that the place was turning out spectacular bread and very good sandwiches. So, I was confident that the recipe would be good. And I had a sneaking suspicion that the recipe’s tomato-chipotle spread (pictured above) would take the sandwiches from good to great. Little did I know that after swiping a finger through the spread for a quick taste test, I would promptly banish ketchup—with its cloying sweetness—from my fridge forever. This stuff—spicy, complex and smoky—is a way-more-than-suitable replacement.
In addition to the spread, these grilled cheeses should involve the best sourdough bread and sharpest cheddar you can find, paper thin rings of red onion and a few sprigs of cilantro. They also involve an ooze-inducing grill. And, then there’s the dunk in a tomato soup of your choice (might I suggest this one?). Comfort, my friends, plain and simple.
Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese
Amy’s Bread via Bon Appetit
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chilies*
1 tablespoon mild-flavored (light) molasses
12 3/4-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
18 ounces extra-sharp New York cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
olive oil, for brushing the griddle or grill pan
Blend tomato paste, chilies, and molasses in processor until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon chipotle mixture over 1 side of each bread slice.
Arrange 6 bread slices, chipotle side up, on work surface. Divide half of cheese among bread slices. Top with tomatoes, then onion, cilantro, and remaining cheese. Top sandwiches with remaining bread, chipotle side down.
Brush 2 large griddles or grill pans lightly with oil and heat over medium heat. Place 3 sandwiches on each griddle; cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes per side.