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Friday, December 9, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Well this is NOT your ordinary grilled cheese!  It's not for the timid or faint of heart.  It's all about big and bold flavors that will stand up to any bowl of soup out there that looks sad and lonely.  This grilled cheese incorporates two of the best food items on the planet - caramelized onions and bacon!  I'm sure that my family alone keeps the grocery store in business with bacon sales.


Ingredients:
  • Some great French bread, or hearty bread of your choice
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • *perhaps a pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • crispy smoked bacon










Step-by-Step:
Slice the onion to about 1/4"thickness.  I like to leave them in "rings."


Cook the onions in the butter.  The key is to cook them low and slow (30 minutes of so).  Enzymatically, you want the starches in the onion to turn to sugar, which they will.  They will get nice and soft and brown and sugary and wonderful!!  If desired, you can add maybe a teaspoon of sugar to help them out, but I usually find them to get nice and sweet on their own.
Find some really nice bread.
 Find some really great cheese.  Gruyere would work great here too, but it's way expensive.
Spread the Dijon mustard on one piece of bread.  Top with cheese and the crispy bacon.  I know that probably sounds way out there, but the tang of the mustard works so well with the salty cheese, and the sweet onions to keep it multidimensional and not "one note."  If you really don't want the mustard, leave it off.  It's your sandwich! - but do yourself a favor and try it like that at least once.
Then I used the left over butter (from the pan where I grilled the onions) to grill the sandwich.  This gives you even more of the onion'y flavor.  I find the the bread gets a lot crispier if you add the butter to the pan first, let it get hot, then add the bread (rather than buttering the bread).  This seals the bread and makes it a lot crunchier..... you know, where you can actually hear it crunch when you bite it!

Yum!  So for our flavor and texture balance, we have crunchy bread, smoky bacon, tang from the Dijon, sweet and buttery from the caramelized onions.  Mmmm!  Now you just need a bowl of soup!




Written Method:

Slice the onion to about 1/4"thickness.  I like to leave them in "rings."  Cook the onions in the butter.  The key is to cook them low and slow (30 minutes of so).  Enzymatically, you want the starches in the onion to turn to sugar, which they will.  They will get nice and soft and brown and sugary and wonderful!!  If desired, you can add maybe a teaspoon of sugar to help them out, but I usually find them to get nice and sweet on their own.

Find some really nice bread.  Find some really great cheese.  Gruyere would work great here too, but it's way expensive.   Spread the Dijon mustard on one piece of bread.  Top with cheese and the crispy bacon.  I know that probably sounds way out there, but the tang of the mustard works so well with the salty cheese, and the sweet onions to keep it multidimensional and not "one note."  If you really don't want the mustard, leave it off.  It's your sandwich! - but do yourself a favor and try it like that at least once.

Then I used the left over butter (from the pan where I grilled the onions) to grill the sandwich.  This gives you even more of the onion'y flavor.  I find the the bread gets a lot crispier if you add the butter to the pan first, let it get hot, then add the bread (rather than buttering the bread).  This seals the bread and makes it a lot crunchier..... you know, where you can actually hear it crunch when you bite it!

Like this recipe?  Please visit my Recipe Index for tons of ideas to cook with/for your family.   Here are a few to get you started:

Baked Brie Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Thyme

Rosemary Black Pepper No-Knead Artisan Bread

Sour Cream Banana Nut Bread

Steamed Asian Dumplings

Roasted Corn Crab Cakes with Chili Lime Sauce

1 comment:

  1. I make my grilled cheese sandwiches almost the EXACT same way! :) Great minds think alike... looks so yummy! I'm hungry already and it's only 8:43am here!

    ReplyDelete

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