1 Dish 2 Spoons: Grilled Cheese

25 Mar

So a couple of weeks ago we asked you to decide what we should do for our next 1 Dish 2 Spoons segment and one reader recommended grilled cheese.   Though we opted for the burgers last week, we loved the idea of grilled cheese so much we just had to do it too! One of life’s great comfort foods from basic to gourmet, grilled cheese is as versatile as they come.  Here are two variations, we guarantee you won’t be reaching for those Kraft singles ever again.

Jess’ Take

Recipe and photos are from my recent trip to Paris

For my rendition, I tried to keep this as “French” as possible, having just been to Paris and all.

Brie and apple go together like peanut butter and jelly, in my opinion.  The crisp tart apple just pairs so perfectly with the buttery mellow brie, and when you get it all gooey and melty, it’s pretty much the best thing ever.   The one aspect to Parisian cooking I truly appreciate is their long standing tradition with marchés.  Super markets, while in existence and common, are nowhere near as fun. Plus, the prices are usually cheaper and the produce fresher.

My Mom and I visited a bakery to get the baguette, a fruit and vegetable stand for the produce, and we tried to visit a Fromagerie for some Brie, but it was closed. So we actually did get this camembert from the super-market across the street from where we are staying.

Since the French are famous for their grilled-cheese style sandwiches such as the Croque Madame and Monsieur, I thought I’d play around with some classic French ingredients and give you a French open-faced inspired sandwich of my own.

You will need:

1 traditional baguette

2-300 g camembert or brie cheese, sliced

1 green apple, thinly sliced

1 sweet onion, finely diced

1 tsp sugar

¼ c. butter, divided

Directions

Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Add in onions, stir for a few minutes until softened. Reduce heat, add sugar and allow onions to reduce and caramelize.  Set aside.

Slice your baguette in half length wise and butter both sides. Spread the caramelized onions on the bottom, then top with green apple and camembert slices.

Heat your broiler and broil for 5-10 minutes until cheese has melted slightly and bread is toasted.

Bon Appetit!

Jess

Tess’ Take

Grilled cheese was one of the first “meals” I learned how to make; preceded by canned soup, and followed by omelets.  To me, there’s a distinct flavor and texture to grilled cheese that I’m just not willing to sacrifice, even in the name of health.  But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t try to clean up a classic!  In my version, I tried to minimize unnecessary calories while maximizing nutritional value.

For the ingredients, I started with a low-calorie, whole wheat bread.  Weight Watchers makes slices so thin they cost only 110 calories per two slices.  To me, that’s perfect for getting the full taste and experience out of a grilled cheese while saving a cool 100 calories.  Next, a low fat cheese will easily save you another 50 cals.  I skipped the butter altogether, though if you really really must use something, just go for the butter and not the margarine – there’s no telling what’s in that stuff :S  Then, to boost nutritional quality I added a few slices of tomato and baby spinach, and added some turkey bacon for protein.

The preparation is the key here.  Because I didn’t use any butter, I had to toast my bread by other means than a skillet.  Sure, I could have used Pam cooking spray, but there’s an even cleaner method than that.  First, I set my oven to broil.  Next, I toasted the bread in the toaster.  By pre-toasting the bread, I was able to keep it crispy despite the addition of tomato afterward.

As the bread was toasting, I cut up my tomato and cheese, and started cooking the turkey bacon.

When the toast was up, I topped it with my spinach, tomato, then cheese.  Spinach should go on the bottom to protect the bread from the tomato; cheese goes on top so that it gets nice and melty 🙂  It was then popped into my now heated oven.

By the time my bacon was done, so was the toast.  I put it all together, and voila!  I guess my grilled cheese actually resembled a BLT once I was through with it.  If you’re a purest, keep in mind that you can skip the extra fillers and just stick with the classic bread and cheese.  Just stick to the cooking instructions.

And of course, a grilled cheese is not complete without Ketchup.  Some indulgences are required 😉  Dip freely, and enjoy!

Tess

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