Grilled Cheese Recipes

Grilled Cheese Recipes – A collection of original recipes and photography by MacKenzie Smith

The Shiny Shiny – Gruyere, Jamon Serrano, Candied Garlic and Tomato Chutney Grilled Cheese

This week will forever go down in history as one of the BEST WEEKS EVER. Why is that you ask? Well, yesterday I flew to my favorite food-land in the whole country – Wisconsin (doiiii) – for a week of cheese life. As you know, I’m a huge fan of American made cheeses and the people of Wisconsin have been so welcoming and generous and um, to be honest, they feed me really, really well so I love them. I’m also pretty much obsessed with Madison, WI and will move here when I get too sick of subways, rats, and cramped living.


But the reason I came out here wasn’t to gorge myself on cheese or to drown my NYC sorrows in locally crafted beer -which to be totally honest is my favorite tradition of my Wisco trips. I came out here because over the last few months, I’ve been a spokesperson for Wisconsin Cheese and a promoter of Grilled Cheese Academy’s recipe contest that just went down today. It was amazing and if you’ve been following my instagram, you already know that a few grilled cheese fiends and I tasted a bunch of insane gc’s this morning and rated them for taste, look, incorporation of cheese, and creativity. And even though you might think that tasting the grilled cheese was the best part, we’re actually going to reward some lucky lad with TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for their recipe which is so amazing. That’s a whole lot of money and I would literally die if I won it – so just sayin’ if you entered I HOPE YOU WON and I’ll give you mouth to mouth if you die of excitement!

Oh and I must do a shameless plug here, because this trip also incorporates one of my other favorite things to do in the world …. eh hem POP-UPS. Whoo!!! So if you live in Madison or even like 5 hours away and have a car, then you must come to one of my grilled cheese pop-ups at Underground Butcher this Saturday and Sunday from 11-3 (here’s an invite!). It’s going to be amazing and I’m going to be grillin’ up this original recipe that features ho’made candied garlic and tomato chutney, Switzerlands’s own Emmi Gruyere, jamon serrano (I’ll be using their house made ham and bread for the pop-up just FYI) and rosemary sourdough.

So before I blab anymore about the awesomeness that is Wisconsin Cheese, let’s get started on the blog post. After eating 100 bites of grilled cheese, I have a lot of exercising exploring and walking to do…

Ingredients:

3 oz Emmi Gruyere
1.5 tbsp candied garlic and tomato chutney (more or less depending on your bread size)
  (recipe below ft: roasted garlic cloves, campari
    tomatoes, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, red
    pepper flakes, powdered ginger, salt + pepper)
2 slices of rosemary sourdough
5 thin slices of jamon serrano (or speck)
2 pats of salty butter

Ok, so to begin, I started by grating some of my favorite Gruyere by Emmi Switzerland. It’s nutty, rich, a lil sweet and its got these perfect little crystals that just make you keep eating it until you have to give all your clothes away because they don’t fit anymore. But I digress and that’s totally a projection of my current problems – SO, anyways – you def need to try this American made cheese because it will blow your mind. And if you can’t find Emmi Gruyere, then it’s probably a good idea to search for their  American counterpart Roth’s Grand Cru… which is pretty much the same thing.

Oh, and to make it clear – to begin, you’ll only pile on half (about 1.5 oz) the cheese on one slice of bread.

Next comes the candied garlic and tomato chutney which might just be my new favorite sandwich condiment EVER. It takes about an hour to make but believe me, once you make it that hour will become the most beautiful hour of your day because this stuff is totally insane and oh so good!

RECIPE: In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 a cup of roasted garlic cloves, 1.5 cup of diced campari tomatoes (or any other sweet tomato), 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 3 tbs of brown sugar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a pinch of dried ginger powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Over a low flame, cook the mixture for about an hour or until its thickened and looks like it’s about to burn. As soon as it reaches this point, take it off the heat and give it a few pulses in a food processor so that there’s nice, consistently sized chunks of garlic and tomatoes. Let it cool for a few minutes before putting it on the sandwich. 

Ok now it’s time for the meat! When I was buying ingredients, I went EVERYWHERE trying to get my paws on some speck aka juniper smoked prosciutto. Well, it turns out that I couldn’t find it anywhere and i didn’t have time to hike over to Depanneur, my old stomping grounds, to get some so I went with my second option – jamon serrano. It’s salty, fatty, and it melts in your mouth which makes it perfect for grilled cheesin’. After making this sandwich, I think it turned out to be an even better choice than the speck. I’m an accidental genius… jk jk jk.

Now pile on the rest of the cheese and top it with the other piece of rosemary sourdough. Butter this baby up and get it ready for grillin’. If you can’t find rosemary sourdough, just mix some chopped rosemary in your butter – it’ll taste the same!

My homies at Emmi Switzerland sent me a super dope Cuisinart Griddler so I used that to grill up this bad boy but you can totally grill it on a stove top. In both circumstances, just put the heat to medium and let it cook for a few minutes until both sides are crispy and golden brown and of course until the cheese has melted!

Before you dig in and pig out, make sure to let it sit for a second so that the cheese doesn’t ooze out of the sandwich. I mean, don’t get me wrong, licking the plate is a way of life in my book but you def want the cheese to stay on the sandwich so you get a perfect bite each time. And if you need like to pair this with some booze, I’d recommend pairing this super fancy ham and cheese grilled cheese with a super crisp and delicious cider like Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple which is super fruity and clean and will help cut through the richness of the sandwich perfectly. K, gotta dip. Love you, bye.

xoxo,

GCS

The Pogo Stick – Burrata, Grilled Strawberries, Pistachios and Mint Pistou Grilled Cheese

I am so stressed out. Like I literally don’t know what to do with myself… I totally shouldn’t even be writing this blog post but I need some cathartic release, and well GCS – you’re my outlet today. So instead of crossing things off on my checklist, I’m going to share this little grilled cheese with you. It’s sweet, savory, and summer-y and it’s perfect… And it sort of makes me forget about the one million things that I have left to do.

If you follow me on Facebook, twitter, or instagram, you’ve probably heard that I’m having a grilled cheese + wine pairing event on Thursday at my favorite place ever – ACME Studio! Well, I’ve never done anything like this before, and this 40 person tasting has turned into some ominous stress cloud that is eating away at my sunny soul. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited about doing it and I can’t wait to perform on the big night, but the preparation part, well that’s making me feel like I’m about to pull a Britney. I just wish there was some magical being to answer all my questions while I just day dream about recipes and figure out how I can get more people to try my sandwiches.

But obviously that’s not going to happen so I must TCOB myself. And I don’t want to bore you with my anxieties so I’ll just focus on the positive and talk about how awesome this event is going to be. OK, so first of all, I got all the wine donated from St. Francis Winery and the cheese is coming from Wisconsin. Awesome. SCORE. I’ve already sold half my tickets so I’m feeling good (and if you want to come, you should reserve your spot HERE)! The sandwiches are going to be fucking awesome. I’m doing 4 courses based off of brunch, lunch/dinner, dessert and of course finishing with the middle of the night munchie sandwich. And since the event is at the coolest wackiest space in Williamsburg – ACME and I’m having my hot girlfriends help me with the guests, I know it’s all going to look SO DOPE. Ok, phew I feel better. Thanks for listening.

Anyways, let’s get on with this sandwich before I actually shave my head and make some bad decisions. So This little guy features creamy Wisconsin Burrata, grilled balsamic strawberries, toasted pistachios and a mint pistou on fluffy foccacia bread.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:

-Wisconsin Burrata
-Grilled Balsamic Strawberries (recipe below)
-Toasted Pistachios
-Mint Pistou
-Focaccia bread

Let’s begin by talking about this cheese. If you’ve never had burrata before or need a little refresher – imagine a creamy, fresh-ricotta-filled ball of mozzarella. On the outside, the taste and texture is just like what you’d imagine from a regular ball of fresh mozz. But the center though, man… It’s what makes this cheese so amazing. It’s creamy, rich, airy, and all the other good things you could possibly imagine. It’s one of my favorite cheeses and I can’t believe this is my first time using it in a recipe!

Now it’s time for the mint pistou. This stuff is super flavorful and best of all it’s super easy to make – it’s basically like a pesto but without cheese. Just combine basil, mint, a teeny bit of garlic, lemon juice, a few pre-shelled pistachios, salt, pepper, and some olive oil and then puree until it looks like the pic below.

Now top with the balsamic strawberries and add a few more pistachios. To make the strawberries, just dice up some fresh berries, let them soak in balsamic vinegar for like 30 minutes and then quickly grill them so that they retain their color but also begin to caramelize a little bit.

Add a little more burratta…

… And then add the remaining piece of bread. Next butter both sides of your sandwich and place it in a hot frying pan so that the bread can become all toasty and delicious. Don’t worry about the cheese melting, because it never really will, but once the bread is golden and irresistible looking – then you know it’s time to take it out the skillet and chow down.

So pretty, right?!

Alright so I gotta run and take care of my 4 page checklist. Wish me luck and I hope to see all of your pretty faces at the event!

xoxo,

GCS

Montbrie Cristo – Brie, Turkey, Ham, Raspberry Jam and Green Onion Grilled Cheese

I feel like I talk about college a lot on this blog. I swear I’m not one of those people who like dream about the good ole days or anything like that (because hey let’s be real my life is pretty effing sweet right now) but one of my besties from FSU is visiting and I’m feeling nostalgic. Owen, who was once the nicest young ruffian you could imagine, is now a real live man! He has the biggest heart of any guy I know but back in the day, the way he displayed his feelings of passion were, well… hilarious and most of the time didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Let me share the incidents of one special night…
On one beautiful winter night in Tallahassee, my drunken friends and I stumbled to my neighbors house for a little bonfire dance party. The Chocolate House, where the party was taking place, was known for their insane ragers. Their old yellow bungalow looked like a porn den from the 70s but was filled with about three million music instruments and about 1 zillion watts of sound… which helped take away the creep factor. These boys always threw the most outrageous parties and some of my fondest memories (that I can remember, sheesh) were formed there. Anyways, on this particular night of bopping around in the woods and groovin’ my ass off to their DJ set, we all settled by the bonfire, red sweaty solo cups in hand, happily recounting the nights events.

All of a sudden, one rando drunk kid was dancing a little bit too close to the fire and we were all automatically concerned. Where were all his friends? Why wasn’t someone telling him to not stand so close to the pit? Was this boy about to trip and fall into the fire and one of us were going to have to save his inebriated ass? I sure as hell knew it wasn’t going to be me but Owen, who took it upon himself, decided that he was going to be the one who rescued the kid from his potential fiery death. Very gentlemanly like, he kindly warned the kid to move away from the fire. The kid swayed his head like some doped up housewife on valium and white wine and mumbled, just barely audible, “Fuck off, dude.”

Owen, like any young man with too much booze and testosterone in his system got up and decided to give the kid another warning. This didn’t go over well and the kid was back by the fire in like 2 seconds, dancing around the edge like some tribesman and was stumbling so close to the flames that we were all white knuckled, wondering how the fuck he wasn’t on fire yet. Unlike us, Owen didn’t find the humor in this and before we knew it, he was up in the kids face telling him to “Get the fuck out of the fire NOW or I will remove you from the fire for fucks sake!” The kid, of course, didn’t give one shit about what Owen had to say and decided to jump over the fire and show off. I don’t know how he actually made it but Owen was not impressed. So as an attempt to save this kid from the potential hellfire that could have led to his dimise, Owen then proceeded to headbutt the youngster to teach him a lesson and get him out of harms way… sort of… I guess? “BOOM BITCH!” is what Owen yelled in an almost King Kong type manner; fists pounding on his puffed up chest as the kid dizzily looked at the sky trying to understand what just happened to him. Luckily for the kid, Owen’s head-butt probably saved his life.

But now instead of head-butting all the wrong-doers in Tallahassee, Owen’s all grown up and has changed from a punk little kid into a real live adult boy! He works for a startup in San Fran and is totally killing it. I’m so proud of him and nothing makes me more happy than when I see my friends grow up into awesome individuals. It really goes to show that head-butts are the best way to show that you care about someone. Jk. But seriously, I’ve never seen a better head-butter than him and I probably never will. Ok, ok, for real though Owen is a champ and he’s here in nyc and I’m writing this blog post so he reads it and never leaves. I’m also making him this sandwich because he eats a lot of meat and the first time I had a Monte Cristo was at Bennigans about a mile from our school. So yeah, let’s give it up to old times while you enjoy my version of this insane-o sandwich.

Ingredients:

Wisconsin Brie
– Raspberry Jam
– Turkey
– Ham
– Green Onion
– Butter
– French Toast Batter
– French bread

To begin, smear on some raspberry jam! It’s tart, slightly sweet and has little raspberry seeds which lend some nice textural variety. It’s really pretty, too.

Now add some Wisconsin Brie! I used President because it’s ultra creamy and rich and it holds up really nicely when it’s melted.

Then add a slice of turkey and some ham so that each bite is full of meaty awesomeness. Oh and then let your guy friends finish off the rest. They need their meat, remember?!

Now add some chopped green onion and the other slice of bread with the brie on it.

How pretty?! Now here’s the fun part. Gently take your sandwich and dip each end in a shallow bowl full of french toaster batter. Let it sit for a second so that it sops up all the goodness and then set them all aside.

Now melt some butter in a pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter begins to bubble, add your french toast soaked sandwich and let it cook for a few minutes on each side until it gets all crispy and golden and french toast-y.

When the sandwich is all good to go, take it out of your pan and let it sit for a second before dousing it in powdered sugar.

Serve with a side of honey mustard, nice glass of Chardonnay (maybe from St. Francis Winery?!), and handcuffs so your friends never leave you. Just kidding… sort of.

xoxo,

GCS