Sometimes you just need comfort food. Even when it is hot, sometimes good hearty comfort food is just that little bit of something special that hits the spot. Well, the last several weeks have called for comfort food. But if it can be elevated to a new level, then why not. Last week on Monday Munchies, I shared about elevating the snack to grown-up snacks. This week’s Monday Munchies is all about elevating the grilled cheese sandwich to gourmet levels but keeping it easy in the process. And a twist on tomato soup by kicking it up a notch to tomato basil bisque levels.
Classic grilled cheese calls for simple American or cheddar cheese on simple white bread. As yummy as that can be, it can “grow up” to gourmet levels. If one cheese is good, then four would be better. If simple white bread is good, then rustic Italian bread would definitely be a step up. And if typical grilled cheese goes well with tomato soup, the gourmet grilled cheese would pair amazingly with tomato basil bisque!
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Two slices of rustic Italian bread per sandwich
Butter – brought to room temperature
One slice Dill Havarti cheese per two sandwiches
One slice Mild Cheddar cheese per two sandwiches
One slice Provolone cheese per two sandwiches
One slice Lacy Swiss cheese per two sandwiches
One bag fresh finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh minced thyme and rosemary
Tomato Basil Bisque
3 cups diced canned tomatoes or 3 cups fresh cored and diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth or 3 cups tomato juice or 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce with 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
14 diced fresh sweet basil leaves (or cinnamon basil)
1 cup heavy cream
1 stick salted butter
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Putting It All Together:
Gourmet Grilled Cheese
1. For each sandwich, take two slices of bread and lay them open faced. On one half, place one half of the provolone and one half of the cheddar on the face of one of the bread slices. Place one half of the dill havarti and one half lacy Swiss cheese on the other bread slice. Close the sandwich.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium flame or temperature.
3. Mix parmesan cheese and herbs on a plate.
4. Spread butter fully over each side of the sandwich. Dip each side of the sandwich into the herb and parmesan mixture and place into grill pan.
5. Grill on side one until crisp and golden brown and flip. Remove from pan when side two is crisp and golden brown and place on plate for serving. Grilling with cheese on the outside creates a cheese frico on each side of the sandwich.
6. When cooled enough to touch, slice on the diagonal and serve with Tomato Basil Bisque.
Tomato Basil Bisque
1. Simmer diced tomatoes and liquid broth (tomato juice or sauce and broth combo) in a large pot for about 30 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and add basil leaves.
3. Purée in the sauce pan with handheld blender. Or if you do not have one, then purée in blender, doing so in small batches and return to pot.
4. Add butter, cream and ground pepper to purée mixture and return to low heat.
5. Stir constantly while butter melts and cream heats. Once hot and well blended, pour into bowls, top with shredded parmesan and serve with gourmet grilled cheese.
Even now my mouth is watering for another delectable bite of gourmet grilled cheese and a spoonful of yummy hearty tomato basil bisque. They are the perfect pair and sure to be a hit with adults, teens and kids alike! They are good on their own too. Neither is complicated nor time consuming but give the impression of that little extra touch of special.
Until next post!