When you think of comfort food there are a few obvious choices. To me, one of them will always be a grilled cheese sandwich. When it comes to grilled cheese the sky’s the limit these days, as we’ve seen everything and anything you can imagine wedged between slices of American cheese and bread.
Of course, you can use other types of cheese in addition to American, but you need that melty, gooey all- American flavor to make it a real grilled cheese sandwich. Remember when you were little and the highlight of the trip to the grocery store was when the deli clerk gave you a slice of cheese? There’s something about freshly cut American cheese, the texture seems smoother and it almost melts in your mouth as you eat it. What makes a grilled cheese sandwich so special is that freshly cut deli cheese. And no matter what anyone tells you, you’re never too old for a slice of cheese at that deli counter. I still ask for mine!
I didn’t really have to think too hard to come up with my sandwich. I do love a good grilled cheese and depending upon what I have in my refrigerator mine can get a variety of added ingredients. But for this sandwich, I wanted to stay in an Italian frame of mind, so I decided to stuff my grilled cheese with roasted peppers and sautéed spinach.
I have a tried and true method when I make an extra special grill cheese sandwich. I melt the butter then brush it on the bread, making sure to get a good even coat on one side of the slice. I don’t want any dry spots! Then I bring out the grill pan to leave those lovely marks on the bread as it toasts, changing it from a plain sandwich into a panini. As for my choice of bread, for a sandwich like this its got to be a good loaf of sourdough extra wide and thickly sliced. The kind of bread that’s perfect for this hearty grilled cheese sandwich.
Now to take this sandwich just a little over the top, I added some finely chopped basil to the melted butter, so when I brushed the butter on, little specks of basil were embedded with the butter onto the bread. And just to make it an even more special I sprinkled grated Romano cheese on top of the butter.
If Leonardo da Vinci ever made a grilled cheese sandwich, he would have made this one. It truly was a masterpiece.
- 4 slices of sourdough bread thickly sliced from a wide loaf.
- 1/2 pound of LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend - thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper deseeded and sliced
- 1 yellow pepper deseeded and sliced
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 3 leaves large basil - finely chopped
- 4 ounces unsalted butter -melted
- 2 tablespoons grated Romano Cheese
- sea salt and black pepper to season peppers and spinach
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place sliced peppers in baking dish and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss peppers so all are coated with oil and seasonings.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the peppers start to get dark. Remove from oven and allow to cool
- In a saute pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic and spinach. Sauté until spinach is wilted and has changed to a dark green color. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Allow to cool slightly
- Start building your sandwiches by placing four slices of sourdough bread on the counter
- Cover each slice of bread with a total of 4 cheese slices on each slice of bread. ( 2 to cover the bread, and two deep)
- Divide one half of the spinach on top of two slices of bread, leaving half of the spinach for later.
- Place 6- 8 slices of roasted pepper on the bread, varying the color so when it is cut you'll see both colors of peppers.
- Top these two slices with the remaining spinach.
- Top the two finished sandwiches halves, with the other piece of sourdough that you have cheese already on, with the cheese facing the spinach. (You should have a total of 8 slices of cheese on each sandwich, 4 on the bottom and 4 on the top)
- Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat, then add the finely chopped basil. Set aside till needed.
- Heat your grill pan on the stove top until it is hot enough to leave marks on the bread.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the basil-butter onto one side of the sandwich, and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese. Place the buttered side down on the pan.
- Turn heat down to medium, and cover the sandwich with a pot lid to keep the heat in and help the cheese to melt.
- After about 3-4 minutes check the bread on the pan to see how the color is. It should be toasted a dark golden brown.
- Brush butter on the side that is up, sprinkle with grated Romano cheese and turn it over to repeat the process of toasting the bread. (Use the pot lid again to help melt the cheese)
- After 3-4 minutes check that side, to see how the color is.
- If the cheese is not fully melted, turn the heat down to low and keep the lid covering the sandwich until the cheese has melted. Just be careful not to burn the bread.
- Slice the sandwich carefully with a serrated knife and serve immediately with a side salad.
Without a doubt, this has to be one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The spinach and roasted peppers were the perfect complements to that flavorful cheese, and as it oozed from the sandwich I thought to myself, life just doesn’t get much better than this. So when we talk about comfort food, we need to talk about this sandwich.