This gourmet grilled cheese is special to me for a couple of reasons. Not only is it one of my favorite comfort foods, but it’s also the first dish I took pictures of with my new camera. 🙂
I hope you are as happy with this change as I am! It was just time to step up my game and buy a big girl camera; my poor iPhone barely shoots photos AT ALL anymore, so it was just another sign to man up and do it. A year ago, my phone was new and my corner unit apartment sat on the twelfth floor of a gorgeous Chicago highrise. Natural light and photo quality were just fine in terms of the beginnings of a food blog! Things have definitely changed, I am no longer in Chicago, and my poor little phone has gone kaput, but hey. That’s all just fine! 🙂
I dig this camera. I have soooo much to learn, but this is a decent start. I hope you agree!
Let’s focus on this gourmet grilled cheese though. I know this concept has been floating around the internet for quite some time, so I had to come up with my own version that I knew I would love. I saw a specific gourmet grilled cheese recipe that contained shallots, and that totally did it for me. I really dig shallots – as you may know from my spinach and shallot spread (this is getting revamped soon – stay tuned!) So, my version of this recipe turned into a hearty combination of mozzarella (fresh), extra sharp yellow cheddar, shallots, and roasted tomato.
My favorite part of this sandwich has to be the roasted tomato flavor melding with the cheese. I’m such a believer in a traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup, so I had to find a way to incorporate all of those flavors when I didn’t have any soup on hand. This worked perfectly for my taste, and I really hope you like it, too. Enjoy!
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- pinch of: salt, pepper, sugar, crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 slices sandwich bread
- 6 small square slices extra sharp cheddar
- 6 small slices fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (on hand, in case you need it for the bread)
- half every tomato and place round-side down onto a small, shallow, oven safe dish.
- sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each, followed by the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
- drizzle olive oil onto each individual tomato half, covering all surfaces.
- bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the rest of your sandwich!
- melt 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter over medium heat in a small saute pan.
- add shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes until very tender and fragrant.
- remove shallots from the pan using a slotted spoon, and place directly onto each slice of bread. you only want to add the shallots to the "inside" part of each slide (what will be the inside parts of your sandwich)
- if you have enough melted butter remaining in your saute pan, place one slide of bread directly onto the surface of the pan. (note: place the bread shallot side UP!) if there isn't quite enough butter left, go ahead and add just enough to coat the surface of the pan before laying down the slice of bread.
- evenly distribute all of the cheddar slices directly on top of the bread and shallots, covering the entire surface. let this cook for a couple of minutes until the cheddar just starts to melt. repeat with the mozzarella directly on top of the cheddar.
- remove your roasted tomatoes from the oven, and place every single one of them directly on top of the mozzarella. feel free to squish them down a bit so those roasted juices flow into the cheese!
- place the second slide of bread (shallot side down) onto the mozzarella and tomatoes, so they can all have a chance to get to know each other.
- flip the sandwich over to allow the other slice of bread to cook, roughly 3-4 minutes.
- remove from pan and let it sit for just a few seconds so the tomatoes can really melt into the mozzarella..
- slice in half (or diagonally like me, because i'm five years old at heart), and serve hot.
- use any cheese you like if you are creating your own sandwich. for me, mozzarella is such a gorgeous melting cheese that i couldn't resist pairing it with one of my all time favorites: extra sharp yellow cheddar. mmm.