Photography by Julie Bidwell
Q: What’s a new take on comfort food?
A: Chances are, a grilled cheese sandwich was one of the first things you learned to make for yourself. And although the simple pleasure of combining gooey cheese with toasty bread remains the same, we’ve come up with a sophisticated spin that’s far from your childhood favorite.
Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
Grilled Brie with caramelized apples and fig jam on French toast bread
1 lb Brie, cut into thin slices
4 T fig jam
8 slices raisin brioche bread
2 C whole milk
4 T honey
3-4 T butter
FOR THE APPLES
2 T butter
2 apples, cored and chopped (we like Gala apples)
1/4 C brandy
In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apples until they are translucent. Add the brandy and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk and honey. Whisk well, then transfer to a shallow dish. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, coating bread completely. Cook bread in skillet until golden brown on both sides. Take three slices of Brie, and place on one side of the French toast, then spread one tablespoon of fig jam on the second slice. Spread one heaping tablespoon of the sautéed apples over the fig jam. Layer three slices of Brie on top, and place the second slice of bread on top of the cheese. In the same skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter on medium heat and cook sandwich until cheese is melted. Remove from heat, slice and serve.
In addition to a heavy skillet (and ample amounts of butter), the key to a perfectly pressed sandwich is the magical blend of golden crust and evenly melted cheese. A grill press ensures you’ll get both.
Grill pan with press; $250.
Grill press; $30.
Cast iron panini press; $160.