Groovy and Gourmet Grilled Cheese

I just discovered that there’s a nation grilled cheese month (April). Who’d a thunk it? Obviously a cheese board somewhere. With the two simple core ingredients of bread and cheese, the grilled cheese sandwich innately lends itself to added bells and whistles. Meat, veggies, chocolate, fruit or even the kitchen sink if you feel so inclined.

Personally I don’t want to wait till the spring to have myself one of those ooey gooey melt in your mouth sandwiches. I took it upon myself (on my readers behalf, of course) to research the best of the best, over the top, can’t wait to stuff it all in my mouth at once grilled cheese delights.

Be warned, these are not your grandma’s grilled cheese sandwiches. All are gourmet and yet so simple that you’re gonna wanna try them all, just not all at once. Please  note that some of the combinations are not “kosher” becasue they mix milk and meat. You can, of course substitute smoked salmon or white fish for any  meat products or leave them out all together.

GOLDEN GATE GRILLED CHEESE

2 tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup milk

1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese

4 freshly cut slices from a sourdough loaf

6 ounces thinly sliced turkey or smoked salmon

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 slices Muenster cheese

In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and chili flakes. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and milk. Spread parmesan on a plate. In a large frying pan, melt half the seasoned butter over medium heat. Dip 1 bread slice in egg mixture, coating one side only. Dip coated side into parmesan. Place to one side in frying pan, cheese side down. Repeat with 1 of remaining bread slices. Arrange turkey, avocado, cilantro, and Muenster on slices, dividing evenly.3. Dip remaining bread into egg and then into parmesan. Arrange on sandwiches, cheese side up, and cook over medium heat until undersides are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Lift sandwiches and add remaining butter to pan; flip and cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Modified from Sunset July 2009

PEAR AND GRILLED CHEESE

4 slices French or Italian loaf bread

4 slices  fake bacon strips, cooked

1 Bartlett pear, thinly sliced

2 slices provolone cheese

2 tablespoon butter

Place a slice of cheese on top of one of the slices of bread. Place few slices of pear on top and then top with, two strips of bacon, and another slice of cheese and then the last slice of bread. Repeat with the second sandwich. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and place both the sandwiches in the pan. Cook until the bread is golden. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Flip the sandwich over and cook until the bread is golden. Remove from the pan and serve. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Makes 2 sandwiches.

Modified from seriouseats.com

ARTICHOKE GRILLED CHEESE

4 slices of bread

Dijon mustard

shredded cheddar cheese

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

1 jarred red peppers drained and cut to fit bread slice

2 tablespoons butter

Spread the mustard on the bread. Place a handful of shredded cheese over the top of 2 slices of the bread. Place the artichoke hearts and red peppers over the cheese then top with the remaining 2 slices of bread. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and cook until the side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and carefully flip the sandwich. Cook until the second side is golden and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

CRAB MELT

6 oz can crabmeat or fake crab, well drained or shredded

1/3 cup finely diced red pepper

2 green onions minced

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1 stalk celery, finely diced

3 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon pepper

4 thick slices whole wheat

butter

paprika

6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a bowl combine the crabmeat, red pepper, green onions, rice wine vinegar, mayonnaise and pepper.

Generously spread two slices of the bread with butter, dust generously with paprika, and place them butter side down in the pan. While it’s cooking place 1/4 of the cheese on each of the two slices. Spread half the crab salad on each; top with remaining cheese. Butter and sprinkle paprika on the remaining bread and place it butter side up on top of the cheese. Press down. Cook the sandwich until bottom is crispy about 3 minutes then flip if over. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.  Makes 2 sandwiches.

Modified from about.com

CAPRESE GRILLED CHEESE

8 slices Challah or sour dough bread (1-inch thick)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 (1-ounce) slices mozzarella cheese

2 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese

3 large fresh tomatoes cut into thin slices

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

2 avocado, pitted and thinly slices

Kosher salt and ground pepper

Heat griddle or large sauté pan over medium heat. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Brush other side of bread with balsamic vinegar. Place 4 slices of bread, oil side down, on the griddle. Layer the mozzarella and provolone tomato, basil and avocado on the top of the bread. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Cook until bread is golden brown and cheese is slightly melted, 3 to 4 minutes, flip once cook until the bread is golden, serves 4.

Modified from the grilledcheeseacademy.com/  created by Alison Lewis

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