I had a request from one of my twitter followers, Randy, for my take on a grilled cheese. I have to say I was kind of stumped on this one at first. I don’t really eat grilled cheese sandwiches unless they are served on a menu with tomato soup. But then I remembered our glorious food truck quest back in Los Angeles and I was nearly unstoppable! A grilled cheese doesn’t have to be limited to just cheese and bread, those are just the platform ingredients to begin the boundless sandwich options out there.
For this grilled cheese, my “Ultimate Grilled Cheese,” I’ve chosen to use some of my most favorite ingredients in Italian cuisine. You might look at the ingredients and think… well, nothing on here sounds all that healthy.” Don’t you always post healthy food?” Yes, I try to. But my philosophy on eating healthy is to eat everything in moderation. The ingredients of this sandwich boast so many flavors that a little bit really goes a long way. Soft fresh mozzarella is the cheesy star of the sandwich. I topped it with crispy and salty prosciutto, juicy tomato, and savory pesto for a creamy and garlicky combination that will forever be stamped in your brain as one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches you’ve eaten in a while.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes
8 slices good sourdough bread
1 ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup pesto
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs balsamic vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to high broil.
- Lay the bread slices out on a cookie sheet and lightly brush with olive oil.
- Toast the bread for 4 minutes on a low rack and for an additional 30 seconds on a high rack below the broiler. I always prefer to toast the bread so that nothing becomes soggy when assembling the sandwich.
- Whisk the mustard and balsamic vinaigrette together in a small bowl.
- Lay the bread toasted side up. Spread the pesto on the toasted side of four pieces of bread and the balsamic-mustard mix on the toasted side of the remaining four slices of bread. Set aside.
- Heat a large sauté pan on low heat. Add the prosciutto in one even layer and cook slowly to render some of the fat out. When it starts to crisp up remove it from the pan and turn off the heat. Keep the pan out.
- Assemble the sandwiches by layering two slices mozzarella, one or two slices of tomato, and 2-3 slices of prosciutto on each sandwich. Press each together so they start to stick together.
- I prefer to cook any grilled cheese semi-panini style. I think this makes a crunchier sandwich and allows you to use way less butter than if you just cook it in a pan.
- Heat a second, smaller sauté pan on medium heat. Make sure the bottom of the pan is clean before doing this!! Reheat the larger pan to medium heat as well. Brush it with just a bit of olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray.
- Lay the sandwiches on the bigger pan in one layer. Put the smaller pan bottom-side down on top of the sandwiches. Cook for about 3 minutes. Flip the sandwiches, reduce the heat, and cook another 3 minutes.
- Serve with a good bowl of tomato soup.
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