I’ve mentioned before that I will never turn down free cheese. There’s just nothing better than a good piece of cheese and a glass of wine or beer. But since April is apparently Grilled Cheese Month, ailment I thought there’d be no better way to showcase the Saint Andre cheese that Ile de France sent me, health than with the fanciest grilled cheese sandwich around.
It may be really frou-frou, but this grilled cheese is really, really good. I got a huge hunk of Saint Andre in the mail this week, which tastes like a strong, creamy brie. I piled it onto a ciabatta roll with Capicolla (a cured meat that’s similar to prosciutto) and cornichons (fancy French gherkins). A quick press in my grill pan, and out came the perfect Sunday afternoon bite.
The cheese is creamy and melty, the meat is salty and super flavorful and the cornichons add some crunch and contrast. Seriously, this is the best fancy grilled cheese ever. If you’re feeling decadent, then this is the sandwich for you. If you’re feeling only a little bit fancy, recreate this with brie, prosciutto and sweet gherkins. Either way, it’s a great start to Grilled Cheese Month (and any other month as far as I’m concerned).
The Fanciest Grilled Cheese Ever
2 ciabatta rolls
3 oz. Saint Andre cheese (I got mine from Ile de France)
8 slices Capicolla
10 cornichons (or sweet gherkins), sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
Special equipment: a panini press or two large skillets
If you don’t have a panini press, as I don’t, I’m sure you find it hard to get a nice, melty center and crisp exterior. The best way to do this is to have heat on both sides. I use a grill pan and a skillet (plus a heavy dutch oven as a weight).
Start by heating both pans over medium heat. You want them hot, but not too hot that they’ll burn the bread, so let them warm up for at least 10 minutes before you use them.
While they’re heating, prep your sandwiches. Halve the ciabatta rolls, add a few slices Capicolla, a big slice of cheese and sliced cornichons. Top with the top sliced of bread and you’re ready for the press.
Brush a little olive oil into the pan, then add your sandwiches. Brush each sandwich top with a little more olive oil, then place the other skillet on top (bottom-side down). If you have a heavy sauce pan or small dutch oven, put it on top of the top skillet to weigh it down.
Cook for about 7 – 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the bread is nice and crisp. Halve diagonally and serve immediately.
Makes 2 sandwiches.