Soon enough summer will be here and we can start talking about salads and fresh veggies.
But for now, while there is still a chill in the air, I consider a scarf as important an article of clothing as pants.
And although spring has officially sprung, that chilly air means it's still the perfect season for grilled cheese.
But let’s be honest--is there really any season NOT perfect for grilled cheese?
I don't think so.
So forget about thoughts of summer.
Hunker down and let’s make a killer grilled cheese!
By pureeing sundried tomatoes and adding them to bread with pancetta, basil, gruyere, and mozzerella, you have a sandwich that’s almost like tomato soup and grilled cheese all in one.
The rich tomatoes and gooey cheese get a little pick-me-up from the vinegar and salty pancetta, so the result is a bite that's not too heavy and not too light--it’s just perfect.
The days of salads, BBQs, and corn on the cob are coming.
But for now, I’m going to pretend it’s snowing outside, put on a couple of DVR'd Hallmark holiday movies, and thoroughly enjoy my cheesy creation.
Sundried Tomato + Basil Grilled Cheese
servings: 4 sandwiches
- 7 ounces sundried tomatoes (about 2 cups or 30 tomato halves)
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces chopped pancetta (about ½ cup)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 20 basil leaves
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
- If your sundried tomatoes are packed in oil, drain them and remove as much oil as possible by patting them with paper towels.
- Combine the sundried tomatoes, vinegar, honey, oil (you will not need the oil if your sundried tomatoes came packed in oil), and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process this mixture until you have a puree. This should make about 1 cup of puree.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crisp—about 5 minutes. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel and set it aside.
- Spread the butter on one side of each of 8 slices of bread. Place the bread butter-side down on your cutting board and spread 1-2 tablespoons of the puree on top of 4 of the bread slices. Sprinkle the pancetta evenly over the 4 slices—on top of the sundried tomato puree. Top the remaining 4 slices of bread with the basil leaves, mozzarella, and gruyere; then place the pieces of bread with the sundried tomato puree on top of them so each sandwich includes sundried tomato puree, pancetta, basil, and cheese.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and place the sandwiches in the pan, working in batches if necessary. Cook them until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides—3-5 minutes per side. If your bread begins to brown before your cheese is melted, turn your heat down and/or cover the pan.
- Remove the sandwiches from the pan, cut them in half, and enjoy!
- If you find yourself with extra puree, it’s great spread on any cold cut sandwich, mixed into a hot pasta, or tossed with your eggs in the morning.