Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Carl Cooks: Celebrating Grilled Cheese
The culinary world is forever coming up with upgrades, twists and re-mixes of classic foods from your childhood. The perennial favorite grilled cheese sandwich is no exception. Shown here is just one of many cookbooks completely dedicated to the classic marriage of melted cheese and bread. It is time to think outside of the white bread and American cheese box. One of my favorites from Marlena Spieler's collection is Spinach and Dill Havarti on multi-grain bread.
WHAT YOU NEED:
4 Garlic cloves
1/2 Pound Baby Spinach leaves
8 Slices of hearty Multi-Grain Bread
3/4 Pound Dill Havarti Cheese (Sliced)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
WHERE TO START:
Assemble bread and cheese slices
Brushing oil on both sides of bread that will touch pan
Heat Oil and Add Garlic until sweated
Add Spinach and toss
The key to a successful spinach saute is speed and constantly turning the leaves so all of them get a quick wilt. In a hot pan it will take just a few minutes. Start with just sweating the minced garlic but do not let it brown. The following sequence of pictures shows how quickly the tender spinach leaves will wilt.
HOW TO FINISH:
Lay sandwich assemblies on griddle oil side down
Top each side with garlic sauteed spinach
Put both sides together
Cover with pressure to put final melt on cheese
Here I just used a clear lid for pressure and to trap the heat to promote melting.
And BAM! the new spin on an old favorite is finished.
Marlena Spieler puts this recipe in her chapter called "Five Minute Wonders." Other recipes can take more time but I doubt they could be much tastier. The combination of garlic sauteed spinach and dill laced cheese is a significant flavor explosion on a crusty loaf. Marlena claims her collection is "50 Recipes to Make You Melt." It is certainly a good start but also try letting your imagination run wild with any number of ingredients and variations. You will be surprised what can happen when cheese meets bread and things heat up.