We’re starting this New Year off with a bang… and a cooking lesson!
I had the absolute, cheesy pleasure to learn how to properly make a grilled cheese from Chef Luke Reyes at The Corner Door. Turns out, I’ve been doing it incorrectly all of these years, and maybe you have too. Read on to find out where we went wrong so long ago.
What You’ll Need
2 Slices of Rustic White Bread
1 1/2 Tbls Unsalted Butter
6 Slices of thinly sliced Fontina Cheese
1 Whole Pear, Cut in Half and Seed Removed
2 Cups of Mixed Greens – arugula, lola rossa, frissee
1 Tsp of Golden Balsamic
3 Tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste
large cast iron pan
half baking tray with cooling rack
1. First you need to make your pears… turn on the grill to med-high and pre heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Brush your halved pear with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place flesh side down on the grill. Turn every 30 seconds to make sure you get even caramelization. Remove from grill and place on baking tray with rack. You want to make sure your pear is still mostly raw while having caramelized the flesh. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, making sure you do not over cook the pear. You want it to still be crunchy. Allow pear to cool and slice into half moons.
3. Turn cast iron pan on medium high heat. Place butter in pan, swirling pan to allow butter to melt but not brown. See now, this is the big trick. I’ve always buttered my bread but chef Luke insists that you butter the pan then place the bread into the melted butter to get that crispy outer layer ever grilled cheese dreams of.
4. Put two slices of bread in pan, then place 3 slices of cheese on each side.
This is another trick I learned, grilling individual bread slices and then putting them together instead of making a sandwich and allowing each side to cook. This ensures each side cooks the same and melts your cheese easily.
5. Place cut caramelized pears onto one side of the bread, filling up the whole piece and put cast iron pan in oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese fully. *WARNING NEWBIES – If you’ve never done this before, please make sure you’re using an oven safe pan before you put it in. I don’t want you burning down your apartment… this grilled cheese is good, but not good enough for arsonist charges.
6. While your sandwich is finishing in the oven, put the mixed greens into the bowl and drizzle with oil and balsamic. After greens are dressed, season with salt and pepper. You can, of course, make this without the greens but it’s going to add that nice acidic kick you need to balance out the rich fontina.
7. Remove cast iron pan from oven, making sure cheese is fully melted, pears are hot and bottom of the bread is browned. Place the two sides down on the cutting board and put the dressed greens on top of the side with the pears.
Place the other side on top, cut and enjoy!