Some of my favorite inspirations for new recipes come from when I am out and about and find unique food and come home and try to replicate it. I made these sandwiches on a Friday night when there was no time and lots of hungry tummies.
I refer to this as an “adult” grilled cheese, since the flavor combinations are layered, wonderful but unusual for some kids’ pallets. Kids also tend to avoid surprising textures, and this sandwich has some onions and chutney, not what they usually experience in your typical grilled cheese. That being said, make them try it anyway, broaden their horizons!
I attempted to replicate the best grilled cheese EVER, that I had at the Valley Shepherd Creamery stand in the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, click here for more: Melt Kraft. It was a close second to the one I had in Philly, but saved me the car trip!
Special Equipment: A panini press and a regular cast iron pan or other pan (not non stick) for caramelizing the onions. Brush for coating the bread in melted butter.
If you don’t have a panini press, use a griddle or skillet and weigh it down with something (plate and a can possibly?) or use this (don’t know what you call it):
Half a small onion per sandwich (caramelized see below)
Spray olive oil, and 2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
Use a nice thick french toast bread if you can find it
Brie (would recommend a plain Brie for this or another mild cheese such as Monterey Jack or Mild Cheddar)
Chutney (a nice tart one like cranberry pomegranate)
I had this chutney in my cupboard that my Dad gave me, and hadn’t known what to do with it until I tried that grilled cheese!
Tip: The original had pine nuts, you can add them if you choose, but I skipped it thinking that the sweetness of the onions and the tart chutney flavors were the stars!
Start by thinly slicing your onion (I used a regular Spanish onion)into half moons then in half again.
Tip: Cut the onion in half then put the flat side down and slice thinly bending in your fingers and protecting the thumb of the hand holding the onion steady.
Warm your pan with 1 tbs of the butter and a drop of oil. Put in the sliced onions, sprinkle a little salt on them and cook them over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the brown sugar to aid in the caramelization. Continue to cook until a nice even brown color, don’t burn.
Melt 1 tbs of butter per sandwich in a small pan. Spray the press or skillet with the olive oil spray and preheat it. While this is preheating get your Brie sliced thinly. I hate that white rind, but you can keep it on, it will kind of melt away. Coat the outside of each bread by brushing on some melted butter.
The butter is more for flavor, they shouldn’t stick since you sprayed the olive oil. Build the panini with a layer of cheese and onions on one side and the chutney on the other side. I didn’t have enough time to fully caramelize the onions, they still rocked!
Ready to press, and in only a few minutes, ready to enjoy.