Tag Archives: cheese sandwich

A Grilled Cheese That’s The Boom

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.


Got cheese?

Got bread?

Then you know you have the makings for a simple yet sensational meal.

Especially if the cheese gets all melty and oozy all over that bread.

“The Great Grilled Cheese Book: Grown-Up Recipes for a Childhood Classic” (Ten Speed, 2018), of which I received a review copy, will show you just how special that combination can be.

The cookbook is by Eric Greenspan, a graduate of both the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris. He also trained under such celebrated chefs as Alain Ducasse, David Bouley, and Joachim Splichal.

The Los Angeles chef made a name for himself with his grilled cheese when he opened the Foundry on Melrose in 2007. He was also the owner of The Roof on Wilshire, where a grilled cheese is indeed still on the menu morning, noon and night.


With 50 takes on grilled cheese, this book offers up both simple and fully loaded versions of this iconic sandwich, from the “Monterey Melt” (poached sush-grade tuna and sharp Cheddar), and “Frenchie” (crumbled blue cheese and date marmalade), to “Prime Time” (brie with roast beef and beet-horseradish mayo), and “Redberry Crunch” (Gouda with raspberry chutney and pecan brittle).

“The Boom” is a vegetarian grilled cheese that tastes downright meaty, thanks to caramelized shiitakes and onions that get coated with home-made Worcestershire sauce. That sauce is a breeze to make, too. Not only that, unlike store-bought Worcestershire sauce that uses anchovies, this one is vegetarian, even vegan.

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Giada’s Mozzarella, Raspberry and Brown Sugar Panini, Plus a Great Food Gal Giveaway

A perfect sweet-savory panini by Giada De Laurentiis.

I’ve been rather obsessed with this crisp, sweet-savory sammy ever since channel-surfing one day and catching Giada De Laurentiis making it on her Food Network show.

But the problem was that my panini press went kaput awhile back.

Oh, I know I could have used a frying pan with a weight on top of the bread instead, but it’s just not quite the same, if you know what I mean.

So, when the good folks at Calphalon offered me the chance to test out their electric panini grill, I leaped at the chance. Of course, you know the first thing I made with it, too.

Yup, De Laurentiis’ childhood panini that her mom used to make for her after school or as dessert. Imagine two slices of artisan bread smeared with raspberry jam, piled with milky mozzarella slices, a sprinkle of sea salt and a flurry of chopped fresh rosemary. The piece de resistance? Brown sugar sprinkled on the very top of each sandwich, so that when the sandwich goes into the panini press, it melts and caramelizes, forming a sugary, crisp crust. Now, you know why I’ve lusted after this sandwich.

It’s pure gooey comfort between two slices of bread. The sprinkle of salt and the fresh rosemary really make it special and keep it from verging into cloying territory. So, do not leave those two ingredients out.

I used slices of a sweet batard loaf and cherry jam, since a jar was already open in my fridge. I can see this working with a wide variety of jams and herbs: marmalade with fresh thyme or strawberry and tarragon, perhaps.

My gleaming new Calphalon panini press.

Place the sandwich inside.

Close the lid and wait for the bread to crisp, the cheese to melt and for everything to become as one.

It makes for a decadent but deceptively simple breakfast or lunch.

Want to try making it, yourself? I’ll give you a hand:

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a Calphalon electric panini grill (valued at about $100). The panini grill features variable temperatures and grill heights to accommodate any size sandwich. The grates wipe clean easily after use, too. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST July 14. Winner will be announced July 16.

How to win?

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