Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grilled Cheese Heaven

Good evening everyone!  Let me tell you, it was rather difficult going back to work today after such a relaxing (long) weekend.  I vote for extended weekends for every weekend!  Alas, we can't have everything we want (aww).  But enough about me ranting about four day weeks, let's get cooking!  Tyler proposed an idea of cooking another vegetarian week.  With the theme of Meatless Monday making the rounds, it's a great idea to trade one or two meals a week with no meat in them.  Surprisingly, it's not that hard to do and you'll feel great about cooking au natural.

But there was one more surprise Tyler had in store:  I couldn't cook with pasta.  Granted, there was a twinge of relying on go-to recipes, but this made me amp up my creative skills.  Tonight, even though it's not completely vegetarian, it's something delicious and wildly original.

The Recipe:  Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Sliders
Original Recipe From: www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

What You'll Need:
(Serving Size: One Sandwich)

2 Slices Ciabatta or French Bread
1 Tablespoon soft Butter (for brushing the bread)
1-2 Slices Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tablespoons Basil Pesto*
1/3 Cup finely shredded Parmesan Cheese

*Note:  It is much more cost effective to use store bought pesto rather than making your own.  But if you prefer to have homemade pesto (and store the rest for use later,) there's nothing wrong with that.  Also, we are using a Genova pesto, which, according to a little bit of research, isn't any different than regular pesto. But it seemed to have a milder taste, which was great for both our pallets.  

To start, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Next, butter the outside of each slice of bread to an even consistency.  Spread a thin amount of pesto on the inside of each slice of bread.  Inside the pesto lined slices, place a slice of mozzarella cheese.  If you want real your sandwich to be super cheesy (like mine) you can place another slice of mozzarella cheese in between the bread slices.  Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of one side of the sandwich.

Next, place the sandwich, cheese side down, in the hot pan.  I've had too many dishes that I've thought I waited long enough to heat up, but for this dish, you really want to wait that extra amount of time to ensure the skillet is nice and hot.  Grill the sandwich for 2-4 minutes, or until the Parmesan cheese is crusted and golden brown.  Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on the bread slice that isn't being grilled.  Flip the sandwich over and grill the other side of the sandwich until the cheese has crusted and started to brown, 2-4 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

If you are a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches, this is the ultimate in grilled cheese heaven.  The mozzarella cheese is a delectable difference from the standard American or cheddar cheese.  The pesto adds an herby depth that is not a norm for this type of sandwich, even though it was rather mild.  The Parmesan crust is also a great addition to this standard American dish.  I would imagine this dish at a little bistro.  I would definitely try this recipe again, given if I had mozzarella cheese and pesto in my refrigerator.

Join us tomorrow as Tyler introduces two (count 'em TWO) new ingredients to the blog's ingredient list.  Until then,


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