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Archive for the ‘Sandwiches’ Category

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese, a la Ina

Posted by booksncooks on September 21, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby invited some friends over for the first college football game of the season. He promised light snacks, and everyone was coming over around 6:30. Light snacks? Really? Chips and dip were never going to suffice. We definitely needed something more substantial. These Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches satisfied that requirement – I couldn’t make them fast enough!

The only real changes I made to this recipe were the bread (my grocery store didn’t have sour dough so I used French bread) and the serving size. I don’t know if the bread was smaller or if I used less cheese and bacon, or a little bit of both, but I actually got more like 10 sandwiches out of this recipe. Ina also suggested shredding the cheese and crumbling the bacon. I ended up leaving the bacon slices whole (or halved when necessary) and “shredding” the cheese with a knife, so that I ended up with pieces larger than a traditional shredder would make. In the future (and in the recipe below), I actually changed this step, so that the cheese is thinly sliced. It will be easier to get more cheese on the sandwiches, and will keep the cheese from falling off when grilling.

Recipe chosen by Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake, of Barefoot Bloggers, from Ina’s new book, How Easy is That? to be released this October.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Adapted from Ina Garten’s How Easy is That?

Makes 6-10 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as an applewood smoked
  • 1 c. good mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread (french bread also worked well), sliced 1/2 inch thick (12+ slices)
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 oz. aged Gruyère or Comte cheese, coarsely grated or thinly sliced
  • 6 oz.good  extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated or thinly sliced

Equipment: Panini Press or Grill Pan

Make the Bacon: Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with foil on the bottom (optional – makes for easy clean up) and a baking rack inserted on top. Lay bacon in a single layer over baking rack. Cook about 20-30 minutes “until nicely browned.” (I cooked mine for about 40 minutes to get the bacon crunchy.) When done, set on a plate lined with paper towels.

Assemble the Sandwiches: In a small bowl, combine mayo, mustard, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Spread half of the bread with a generous serving of the mayo mixture. Add cheese (1 oz. each cheddar and Gruyère / comte, about 1/3 cup total if grated) and 1-2 slices bacon. Top with other slice of bread.

If using a Panini press on the stove, heat the Panini press over medium heat. Meanwhile, either spread butter on sandwiches (both sides), or melt butter, and when Panini press is hot, brush butter on both sides of the pan. Cook 3-5 minutes, flipping as needed. Allow to cool a couple of minutes before serving.

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Posted in Game Day, Sandwiches | Leave a Comment »

Caesar Club Sandwich

Posted by booksncooks on March 24, 2010

I was very excited when I saw that Karen of Shortbread chose Ina Garten’s Caesar Club Sandwich for Barefoot Bloggers this month. I have come across this recipe a couple times and have been waiting to try it. I was not disappointed. The sandwich was amazing – easy and flavorful. The dressing tasted way better than any bottled Caesar dressing does (I made mine without the anchovy paste, which I couldn’t find at my grocery store), and the sun-dried tomatoes were a surprising burst of flavor. I prepared everything ahead of time and assembled it shortly before my friends arrived. I have a feeling that my hubby will be adding this to his list of favorite dinners.

Caesar Club Sandwich

From Barefoot Contessa at Home and on Food Network

Ingredients for the Salad Dressing:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise

Ingredients for the Sandwich:

  • 1 whole chicken breast (bone in, skin on, and split) or leftover rotisserie chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 large ciabatta bread, or other bread with a slightly crunchy crust
  • 2 oz. arugula or spinach, washed and dried
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
  • 2-3 oz. Parmesan, shaved (I used shredded, since that’s what we keep on hand)

Make the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350F. Rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and roast 35-40 minutes, until cooked through. Cook slightly. Slice meat off bone and set aside.

I used left over chicken from an rotisserie chicken I made the night before, and that worked perfectly. This is a great way to use up leftovers!

Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients:

1. Make the Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Or, combine all ingredients in a food processor, processing until smooth.(Refrigerate if not using immediately.)

2. Place pancetta on a baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, until crispy. Pat off grease with a paper towel and set aside.

3. Slice bread in half horizontally. Place on a baking sheet (cut-side up) or directly on wire oven racks. Toast for 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Assemble the Sandwich

Spread Caesar dressing on both piece of bread. Then layer: arugula / spinach; sun-dried tomatoes; pancetta; chicken; shaved Parmesan (or, if using shredded, sprinkle on top half of bread, so that it will stick to the dressing). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top on sandwich and cut into pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Food Network, Poultry, Sandwiches | 4 Comments »

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Posted by booksncooks on December 12, 2009

Here’s a quick appetizer you can have on hand for unexpected guests. I have frozen this both when directed as well as the completely finished pesto (with the Parmesan), and it is good both ways. I serve this in a bowl, and let everyone help themselves, but you can also pre-spread the pesto onto toast or bread.

I’m hoping for leftovers, as I’d love to try this mixed in pasta with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes, or stuffed in a chicken breast. If you beat me to it, be sure to let me know how you liked it!

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients (Before Freezing):

  • 1-8 oz. pack of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 c. fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

More Ingredients (After Freezing):

  • 2/3 grated Parmesan
  • bread or cracker of your choice…. for grilling, toasting, or serving plain

Pre-Freezer Directions:

In a food processor, chop the artichokes, parsley, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, scraping the sides as necessary. With the food processor in, add the olive oil.

If freezing, transfer to an airtight container (or pre-portion into an ice cube tray and wrap tightly with plastic wrap). Freeze for up to 1 month.

Post-Freezer Directions:

Thaw pesto.

Mix in Parmesan cheese (2 tsp. per ice cube if you’re freezing it that way).

I served this as part of a platter of dips, breads, and crackers (including homemade pita toasts), and allowed everyone to “dress” their own bread or cracker. If you prefer, toast some bread, spread the pesto, and serve.

Posted in Appetizers, Dips & Spreads, Food Network, Giada, Pastas, Sandwiches | Leave a Comment »