So, when this one came off the grill, I was prepared for a total write-off. I’m skeptical of fruit in savory dishes to start with – I only picked this one for this week because I had 2/3 of a block of leftover gruyere that I wanted to be sure to use, and it seemed like the easiest gruyere recipe on Macheesmo. Then, in spite of my efforts to keep the pan on medium heat, I managed to brown (i.e. blacken) the bread before all the cheese had time to melt. By the time I pulled the sad little heap off the stove, I wasn’t expecting to be too impressed.
But, much to my surprise, it was delicious! I’m officially a savory-fruit-sandwich convert, at least in this case. The flavors really complement each other: savory richness from the gruyere, sweet-but-not-too-sweet fruit, and a little peppery bite from the arugula. It was hearty but also light; a summery comfort food. These were also made on the homemade King Arthur buns mentioned yesterday
Two tips for keeping this sandwich together while grilling:
- Use tongs to flip it. I found that tongs worked much better than a spatula, both to flip, and to snug up the contents while cooking if they started to slide out.
- Cover it. My fiancé discovered this one: covering the pan with a tight-fitting lid trapped more heat and helped the cheese to melt faster, before the bread could get burned. You do have to lift the lid and check on it periodically, of course.
Our sandwiches were also pretty thick, on small buns. Next time I try this, I’ll use regular-sized bread, and try to slice the cheese and peaches thinner. The tongs might not be necessary with those changes.
Deliciousness score: 8
Easiness score: 7
Every time I set out to make this recipe, I’m intimidated by how much work it’s going to be, and every time I’m surprised by how quickly and easily it comes together. I think I get scared initially because it involves making a sauce from scratch, and I’m still a little mystified by sauce chemistry. What if I burn the flour? What if the sauce breaks? It feels like a lot of high-risk, split-second timing, and I’m still not totally clear on the whole emulsification process, and how or whether I can re-emulsify a sauce that has de-emulsified.
If that’s all Greek to you, just don’t worry about it, because in this case you’re pretty much just throwing cheese in a pot and it’s delicious. Someday in the future, I’ll do a breakdown of the different types of sauces; supposedly if you can master the five “mother sauces,” you have the building blocks for a lot of different dishes. (It kind of sounds like something out of a kung fu movie.) But for this dish, you’re just making a simple cheese sauce, and I find that it’s pretty forgiving. You start by sautéing diced onions and garlic in butter, then add a little flour and stir for a minute before adding the milk and cheese. I had everything measured out and sitting ready before I started, and I also stood there watching the sauce the whole time, without trying to multi-task. In the course of my cooking adventures, I’ve definitely sacrificed way too many perfectly good sauces and veggies and baked goods because I was trying to do too many things at once. Parallelization is all well and good, but sometimes it pays to just stop and focus. This is one of those times; just pay attention to the sauce and it will come out amazing.
(That said, I think I did chop up the spinach and artichokes while the cheese and milk were cooking down. No big deal; I just set up the cutting board right next to the stove and kept an eye on it, stirring occasionally.)
This sandwich is basically a cheddary spinach artichoke dip in grilled cheese form, which is just as incredible as you’d expect. I didn’t have time to make the homemade potato chips like she suggests, but we just had some oven-baked fries alongside and it was great. Gooey, hearty, cheesy goodness – definitely a good choice for when you’re in the mood for pub fare but don’t actually feel like going out.