Wednesday 31 July 2013

My Great Big Melty Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Some days (or weeks) are better for cooking than others, at least at my house.

Last weekend was not a good cooking weekend for me. 

I was working on two new recipes and ended up displeased with both.  One will require further tweaking.  The other was just plain bad and won't be revisited at all.

I left chicken stock in the slow cooker over night on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning I lifted the ceramic liner out of the cooker and set it out to cool.  There was a resounding CRACK! and the liner split in half, leaking hot stock all over the kitchen. 

It was that kind of weekend. 

The best I can say is that the kitchen got a thorough cleaning!

On Sunday I went to make pizza crusts and discovered that I had no garlic left in the kitchen.  I'd used it all up making pesto the previous day.  There was no dried oregano in the cupboard either.  What I did have was a big bunch of fresh chives, given me by a friend.  I made my usual foccacia dough, omitting the garlic and rosemary and adding in chopped chives instead.  I formed one pizza crust and - being out of patience - balled up the rest of the dough and baked it off as a single loaf in a 12-inch, high sided cake pan.

The finished loaf looked like this:

The bread tasted really good.  It called out for sandwich fillings, and my mood required comfort food.  I wanted grilled cheese.  

I cut two big slices from the centre of the loaf.

I looked in the fridge and found some sliced provolone cheese that I'd bought on clearance at the grocery store that morning, some Genoa salami, and the pesto I'd made on Saturday.

I also found two almost-ripe Roma tomatoes too.  They were still a little pallid, and not particularly flavourful, so I decided to roast them before using them in my sandwiches.  

I sliced the tomatoes into thick slices, brushed on some olive oil and seasoned them with some freshly ground black pepper.

I roasted the tomatoes at 400F for about 15 minutes. 

When the tomatoes were done, I assembled my sandwiches.  

I cut each loaded slice of bread in half and set one half on top of the other to make the sandwiches, then buttered the top slice of bread on each one.

I heated up a frying pan on medium heat and set the sandwiches butter side down into the pan.  I buttered the top of each sandwich, then put a lid on the pan to keep the heat and moisture in, hoping it would help melt the cheese. 

When they were browned on one side, I flipped the sandwiches over and browned the other side.

The cheese was not completely melted by the time the bread was toasty so I put the sandwiches in a 300F oven for about 5 minutes, until they were heated all the way through.

My great big melty Italian grilled cheese sandwiches were messy to eat but oh! so good! The bread was very tender with a nice, mild onion-y taste from the chives, the mild, smooth provolone made a good counterpoint to the salami, and the pesto paired beautifully with the sweetness of the roasted tomato.

It's nice that at least one thing worked out well in my kitchen this weekend. :^)  I'll make these sandwiches again.