Monday, December 6, 2010

Classic Grilled Cheese with Marinated Onions and Whole-Grain Mustard

This "classic" grilled cheese recipe comes from Nancy Silverton's sandwich book.  I know her name from mentions in Kim Boyce's book, Good to the Grain, which has not made an appearance here in a while but is a huge inspiration to me.  I asked for this book for my birthday because I like sandwiches.  I like going to a cafe and having some delicious panini-pressed goodness oozing with flavor.  I wanted to try some at home, but it's always easier when you have a bit of guidance.

This wasn't the first recipe I intended to make, but it was actually kind of spontaneous.  I had everything on hand except the bread.  I stopped at Panera for something crusty, since it was on the way, and took home a "country loaf."  This was not only delicious but ended up being perfect for what we were making.

I didn't actually make this myself, which always makes things taste better.  The sandwich has four main elements: the thick, crusty bread is smeared with whole-grain mustard and layered with slices of Gruyere and marinated onions.  Then you spread some butter on the outside and clamp down your grill press for some tasty crunchy brown grill marks, which also melts all the cheese and softens the onions up a bit.

My one criticism of this sandwich is the salt factor - I would at least halve the salt in the marinated onions.  I suppose they were sort of quick-pickled, but it's worth a shot as I was super thirsty eating this sandwich and the salt was just at that point where it starts to detract from the flavor.

We had this soup with a tiny bit of Smoked Tomato Bisque, a perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese.  The soup seemed to have lost a bit of its salt content in the freezer, but with the saltiness of the sandwich, it was good.  This also helped me to discover something interesting/important about frozen soup.  I had read that you can refreeze something you defrost in the refrigerator, so I put the soup in the fridge this morning to thaw with the intention of serving some and re-freezing the rest.  When I took it out of the fridge, I was disappointed to find that it was still frozen.  However, I decided to try to scrape a bit out with a spoon, at which point I discovered that although still frozen, I could scoop large flaky chunks out.  So I did that and put the rest of the soup back in the freezer.  Now I know I can have small portions of my soups with just a bit of advance planning.

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