Thursday, August 26, 2010

Toasted Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Gruyere Cheese and Walnut Pesto

Let's start a list of phrases I should never use again (but will)...

"This is the best (insert dish of the day name here) ever!"

"This is not your Grandmother's (insert dish of the day name here)!"

OK, even though I believe the above about (insert dish of the day name here) um, I mean, my grilled cheese, I promise not to say those two phrases during the next post.

But what does come to mind is Emerson (Ralph Waldo), "Build a better TOASTED CHEESE SANDWICH and the world will beat a path to your blog"

Well, start beating, the welcome mat is out and I'll make you that tomato soup bisque to go along with this better Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

The basics of a toasted cheese sandwich... bread, cheese and in this case, a stuffing...

The Bread...
I used a couple of slices of my fresh made ENG BREAD.  Eng bread is my version of a French Bread.  just a little extra sugar in the mix.  This time, I added an egg wash just prior to baking, and sprinkled on a generous amount of my "SODOM and GOMORRAH Sesame Seed with Garlic and Sea Salt" spice mix.

I toasted the bread like I would make a Bruschetta.  For details with lots of photos, follow the link; but briefly, medium thick slices of bread, generously brush a top quality Extra Virgin olive Oil, both sides.  In a frying pan, begin toasting over medium heat.  As it is toasting, slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the exposed side on the bread.  the garlic oil really zips the taste.  Toast just slightly underdone, as the bread will be in the broiler briefly.

The Cheese...
Get out of the dairy section of your store and explore the specialty cheese section, or even better, find a specialty cheese shop.  Ask some questions, tell the cheese monger what you want to do.  they will make some spectacular suggestions, and even give samples (my lunch for the day).

I used an Emml Young Gruyere.  A young Gruyere cheese is creamy and soft.  Melts well, and adds a nutty rich taste.  Gruyere is a terrific cheese to use for baking.  In fact, in a classic Chicken Cordon Bleu (which has nothing to do with the cooking school (but I digress)), as well as classic French onion soup, Gruyere cheese is the cheese of choice.  The older it gets, the more the cheese gets more grainy and does not melt as well.  So, try to find a young (less than 2 months old) Gruyere.  Mine was marked as young, but you can tell from the feel.  If it has a slight softness to it, it is young.  If it is harder like a block of Parmesan, it is more mature (and a perfect cheese for a cheese tray... but I digress).

The Stuffing
And now we get to it... Pesto.  In fact, more than just any pesto, I use what I call OHIO PESTO.  Ohio pesto is much the same as a "regular" pesto (although there are dozens of varieties).  Basil, Parmesan cheese, Olive Oil, Garlic and I love to add Ohio Black Walnuts.  The classic calls for Pine Nuts in the recipe.  Me, I prefer the earthiness of the walnut flavor.    Pine Nuts have very little actual flavor.  Give the walnuts a try, not only are they 1/4th the price, but adds a deeper flavor.

So, toast the bread, add the pesto, top with the cheese and slip under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese!

And serve with Soup!

You bet YA! 

Invite your Grandma, she'll say it's the best ever (wink nod).

And by the way, the cheese, garlic, basil and spices in the "SODOM and GOMORRAH Sesame Seed with Garlic and Sea Salt" all came from the Kansas City River market (our Farmer's Market).  So I continue to only post recipes made from ingredients found at a Farmer's market.

Do yourself a favor and hunt one down this weekend... It is the BEST time of year for fresh produce!



  1. Grilled cheese is one of my all-time most favorite foods. I will definitely try this!

  2. That is the perfect grilled cheese......yum:)

  3. Looks delicious! I love grilled cheese and soup - perfect meal anytime.

  4. It doesn't get any better than grilled cheese and tomato bisque. It's good to have you back home. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. First of all, why have I never thought to put gruyere in grilled cheese? I have severely been missing out. Pesto on grilled cheese - such a classic!

  6. That is seriously the perfect lunch. It kicks my leftover meatloaf sandwich's butt all over the place ;)

  7. yuum...I want to try some of that walnut pesto!

  8. Oops, my comment disappeared! Looks great! Love walnuts in the pesto and Gruyere cheese!

  9. Even though it's 100 degrees in Denver today, I do believe this looks like the best soup and grilled cheese sandwich EVER. :-)

  10. Wow... this is fabulous. Really..

    Keri at

  11. I have to admit, that bread did catch my eye and steal the show in the bisque post. The black and white sesame seeds stand out.

    I also love gruyere, it's my favorite for use in mornay sauce.