I waitressed at a local deli for about 7 years in high school and college. One of the perks was that we got a free sandwich after every shift. As a broke college student I appreciated it, but--at the same time--man would those turkey sandwiches get old.
One of my roommates, who also worked at the deli, was a vegetarian, so her options were even more limited. She got creative and started making these incredible grilled cheese sandwiches. Big, sloppy things, with every bit of vegetable she could get her hands on in the back kitchen.
"Would you like lettucetomatoonionorpickle on that sandwich?" To this day, I can still spit it out like it's one word. Nice Roommate would add sauerkraut and sliced pepperoncinis to that standard list, and then dip the whole thing in a side dish of the marinara that was used for the meatball subs. It was so good that it would often induce me to skip my go-to turkey and swiss.
I mention this because apparently April is "National Grilled Cheese Month". (Yes, that's a total cheese company invented holiday. You wanna complain? I thought not.) To properly celebrate, Sweet Husband and I indulged in a little nostalgia this past Saturday afternoon and made a pair of delicious, sloppy grilled cheeses.
It was everything I remember--a fat ooey-gooey sandwich, with sauerkraut and pickles spilling out with every bite. Yum!
While it's more a method than a proper recipe, here's the general how-to.
Sloppy Grilled Cheese (makes 2 sandwiches)
- about 1 tablespoon of butter
- 4 slices of bread
- 4-6 good slices off a wedge of Arla Dofino chili lime gouda
- one medium sized tomato, sliced
- one medium onion, sliced and grilled
- 4 pickle slices
- a few tablespoons of sliced pepperoncinis
- one can of whole tomatoes, or jarred marinara
- salt, to taste
On a flat top griddle or in a large skillet, melt about a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Lay two slices of bread in the butter, and layer with cheese, tomato slices, and another piece of bread. Cook until the first side is nicely toasted (about 2 minutes), then flip to the other side and do the same. If the cheese isn't gooey by the time the bread is done, pop the sandwiches into a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or so to finish.
When the cheese is melted, carefully pull your layers apart to add the other toppings--pickles, grilled onions, sauerkraut, and pepperoncinis. If things aren't spilling out, you haven't added enough toppings.
If you have jarred marinara on hand, feel free to use it. Otherwise, drain most of the liquid off of a small can of whole tomatoes, add a generous pinch of salt, and use a stick blender to pulverize the tomatoes into sauce. Zap it in the microwave (perhaps not in the can!) for about a minute, then dig in!
Want to hear more about National Grilled Cheese month? Join the twitter party this Wednesday! The prizes are going to be awesome-sauce--La Creuset sandwich press, anyone?--and it should be a fun chance to get more grilled cheese inspiration. To join in, just....
- Login to Twitter from 8-9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 8th.
- Follow @ArlaDofino, @TwoPeasandPod and @FoodieCrush.
- Search for the hashtag #GooeyGoodness.
- Join the conversation! Tweet using #GooeyGoodness so others see your comments.
Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! Now, go make yourself a sandwich, stat!