I have a thing for grilled cheese. I am not talking about a slice of American between two pieces of sandwich bread, either. I am talking about some nice sturdy sourdough slices (my favorite is the sliced sourdough loaf right out of the Target bakery--they freeze nicely and the individual slices thaw quickly so I always have some on hand) with oozing gourmet cheeses and veggies. If I invite you over for lunch, you will probably be served such a sandwich. We eat loads of "grown-up" grilled cheese sandwiches in the summer--that title came from a recipe out of the Friends (the TV show) cookbook I had in college, and is technically fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil grilled on sourdough. I also use this same sourdough to make a guacamole grilled cheese (talk about sinful), one with kale, Gruyere, mustard and shallots, and a bacon, apple and cheddar grilled cheese. I have even tried a french onion grilled cheese, because my husband adores french onion soup. They are all delicious examples of comfort food. This summer we added a new favorite to the list: pimento cheese. I grew up with a fondness for the spread, but we always just bought the tubs of it at the store and spread it on toast, maybe with a little lettuce. My friend, Jenni, served a homemade pimento cheese at her Derby Day party and it was delish. I always assumed that homemade versions would taste too much like mayonnaise (which in plain form I find to be repulsive), but this was not the case. I stood close to that bowl of pimento cheese throughout the party and made sure I snatched up that recipe ASAP. I made some that very week, and as my husband and I were spreading it on crackers one evening, we suddenly both exclaimed that we should try it as a grilled cheese. The rest is history. I am going to give you this recipe already doubled because you won't want to make it in any smaller quantity once you try it. Also, I beg you to please grate your own cheese. It seriously takes less than five minutes. Pre-shredded will just not cut it this time.
- 8 oz brick of sharp cheddar, grated
- 8 oz smoked Gouda, grated
- 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
- 4 t. cream-style horseradish (use less if you don't like the taste of horseradish)
- 4 t. Dijon mustard
- pepper to taste
- 2/3 c. drained, chopped pimentos (this comes out to be about one 4 oz jar)
Mix all together thoroughly, smashing lightly with a fork til you reach your desired consistency. It will look something like this, though you will have a lot more of it--this is just what was left when I pulled it out of the fridge this morning to make my husband a sandwich for his lunch.
Spread it on crackers, toast, or sandwich between your choice of bread or bagel. To make an incredible grilled cheese sandwich you won't forget, spread on sliced sourdough and grill in a nonstick pan with a touch of olive oil. If you are fancy-schmancy you can put it in a panini press, but pressing down firmly with your spatula or weighting the top with another heavy pan produces the same result. Make two, you will want another.