When I was a kid, grilled cheese sandwiches were always the fall back meal for when Mom and Dad were eating a super spicy meal (this happened often since they are spicy food lovers). I learned quickly that I should make my own because Mom always burned them. I had them on whole wheat bread with Swiss cheese. No substitutions, please. When I met my husband and discovered he hadn't had one of these, I had to introduce it to him. He's a grilled cheese lover now, too.
For awhile, I was so caught up in fancy recipes that the grilled cheese sandwich went to the wayside. But every time I have one, I can't believe I forgot about them. There's something so right about biting into toasty bread oozing with melted cheese. Simple but perfect.
I've graduated to "grown-up" grilled cheese with the addition of other varieties of cheese, tomatoes, swiss chard, spinach, onions, mustards, and other delicious goodies. The whole wheat bread is still a staple, although sometimes I do mix it up and use sourdough. Last night I made a revolutionary advancement in the world of grilled cheese. I guess it doesn't take a normal, sane person 2 hours to make 2 sandwiches, but it was worth every minute. I found a recipe for a pasta with roasted tomatoes that I wanted to try, but we'd just had pasta the day before, so I thought I'd make the roasted tomatoes as a side dish.
After slicing, squeezing out the seeds, and mixing with olive oil, oregano and garlic powder, I laid the tomatoes on a baking sheet and put them in oven. After 30 minutes, I was supposed to flip them over. Each individual little tomato half. That looked like a daunting task and they were still a little juicy for that, so I just moved them around a little so they wouldn't stick. Mmmm...they smelled SO good. I threw two ears of corn on the pan with the tomatoes to roast and hopefully soak up some of the flavors coming from the tomatoes. The result: slightly charred, wonderfully chewy tomatoes. It was like eating tomato candies, they were that good. Lucky for my husband, I moved them out to the dining room. Otherwise, he would have missed out.
Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese
Yield: 2 sandwiches
4 slices sourdough bread
1 tsp. butter, softened
4 slices Swiss cheese (the hubby)
4 slices Garlic Cheddar cheese (me)
Place a flat, nonstick pan on the stove and turn the burner on medium. Very lightly butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread dijon mustard on the opposite side of two slices of bread. Place butter side down on pan. Lay cheese slices on top of the mustard, then add roasted tomatoes. Top with other slice of bread. Keep burner on low and do not leave the sandwiches unattended. Flip after the bottom is lightly browned. If you find they are browning too quickly, turn the burner down. The key is to melt the cheese without burning the bread! (This is where I ran into problems as a child, when Mom burnt the bread and the cheese didn't get a chance to melt. Sorry Mom, I know you were busy but I have to mention this because it was tragic. And no, scraping off the burnt part does not completely erase that burnt flavor.)
Note: Our local farm market has a cheese stand (Country Sunrise Creamery) where they sell this delicious garlic cheddar cheese. Here's where I would usually start talking about buying local and eating foods that aren't covered in pesticides but I'll spare you this time.
1 lb. yellow plum tomatoes, sliced in half and seeded
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut tomatoes in half, squeezing out excess seeds. Mix with remaining ingredients. Lay tomatoes, cut side down, on baking pan and drizzle any remaining mixture over tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes and then flip. If you're planning to roast corn on the cob, now's the time to add it. Roast for another 30-40 minutes, turning corn once or twice.