Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Ultimate Grilled Cheese

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese is the Barefoot Blogger bonus recipe this month. Ina Garten has a new cookbook coming out called How Easy Is That? and we get to try out some of the recipes early. I almost didn't try this recipe since it called for a panini press. A panini press is one of those things that might be cool to have but I would only use it a few times a year and it would be taking up room all year so I don't get one. I thought I would see if I could make it without a press.

Instead of the press I just made it in a heavy pan and pressed it down with my spatula. The sandwiches were good but I had a few problems with it. The cheese didn't completely melt - I will assume this is because I didn't use a press. It was also a little salty for me - should have left the salt out. Other than that they were great. I also didn't notice until I got home from the store that it called for aged Gruyere - I am sure it would have been even better if I had got the right cheese.

Thanks to Rebecca at Ezra Pound Cake for this months bonus recipe. Looks like she got away without a press too.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese
(Source: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten)
serves 6

  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as Nodine’s applewood smoked
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 white pullman loaf or sourdough bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick (12 slices)
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 oz aged Gruyere or Comte cheese
  • 6 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, such as Cabot or Shelburne Farms
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter. Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture. Don’t neglect the corners!
  3. Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disk and combine. Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread. Pile 1/3 cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.
  4. Heat an electric panini press. When the press is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 2 minutes. Cut in half and serve warm.

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