I think everyone should have their own grilled cheese recipe. It can be as simple or gourmet as you’d like, with countless opportunity for unusual ingredients. As we come into the season of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade soups I decided to come up with my very own grilled cheese using my favorite ingredients, toasted hazelnuts and sun dried cherries. And after creating this I was lucky to have my friend Annalise, from Completely Delicious, around to taste it and make sure the combination wasn’t too strange. And since we were cooking together I went ahead and tasted her Cream Cheese Pound Cake as well (of course she didn’t have to twist my arm on that one at all!!).
Annalise and I spent the afternoon cooking and chatting, as we do best. Her little John helped as well, or at least he sat and watched over us, to make sure we were measuring everything correctly. We shared the stories of our recipes and just shared life for the afternoon.
This grilled cheese recipe was inspired by a few things. First, the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever eaten at a little cafe on the slopes of Park City. When I worked up in Park City for a few years I would stop into this little cafe from time to time and grab this Grilled Cheese Sandwich served with Tallegio cheese (a fruity dessert cheese), Tyrolean ham and sun dried cherries on sourdough. Since then Silver Star Cafe no longer sells this sandwich that I still crave so I had to come up with my own version.
The inspiration behind hazelnut butter on the sandwich came from another recipe I found for a grilled cheese with dried figs and hazelnut butter. And as you know hazelnuts are one of my very favorite ingredients…which I add to almost everything (case-in-point with this grilled cheese!) Annalise and I only had a handful of hazelnuts so we roasted them for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees and then created our own butter using her coffee grinder to grind the nuts (our little secret tip for making nut butter without a food processor). Then we added a little bit of vegetable oil and a few pinches of powdered sugar. Adding both the sugar and oil until it was the right consistency and taste.
As it turned out the nuttiness of the hazelnut butter tasted perfect with a nutty or sweet cheese and the slightly sour cherries balanced everything out. The arugula adds a bit of spice too, making for a perfect, (or at least my ideal) grilled cheese sandwich!
What would your perfect grilled cheese sandwich be?
- 4 slices of a seeded wheat bread
- White Cheddar or Tallegio Cheese
- handful of dried cherries
- handful of arugula
- butter for tasting
- 4 tablespoons hazelnut butter
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar
- If you have hazelnuts you can use a coffee grinder to process the nuts. Add about a teaspoon of oil to the nut flour and a 1/2 tsp of powdered sugar to create the hazelnut butter. You may need to add more oil or sugar for the right taste and consistency.
- Butter two slices of seeded wheat bread. Then layer hazelnut butter, arugula, cherries then cheese on the bread. Toast on medium low heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp.
Visit Annalise at Completely Delicious for this Cream Cheese Pound Cake Recipe.