Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This week's Craving Ellie in my Belly recipe was the lovely and simple Ellie Krieger variation on grilled cheese. There is something timeless and indescribably fantastic about a well-made grilled cheese sandwich. Whether you're a purist who just wants the cheese + bread + butter formula, or someone who likes a bit of zing in her grilled cheese, you can't deny that it's simply wonderful. Of course its best friend is tomato soup, but since this was a slightly fancier grilled cheese, I thought it would go well with yesterday's carrot salad.

This grilled cheese tastes like something you'd get in a diner or a deli. It has some serious oomph, for lack of a better word. And it's all thanks to the grilled onions. As I virtually inhaled this sandwich, I marveled at the fact that it actually felt like there was meat in there, thanks to the melty cheese and the grilled onions conjuring up memories of In-n-Out cheeseburgers of yore. But there is no meat, folks. None. Vegetarians, check it out.

A lot of things can go into a grilled cheese sandwich to jazz it up, but this one doesn't take it too far. Grilled onions, tomato slices, and some peppers give enough flavor to make everyone happy. Ellie's version used cheddar and pepper jack, but I decided to use cheddarella (cheddar and mozzarella mixed, for those of you unenlightened folk) with some diced pimiento peppers. Yum!

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave
serves 2


1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
4 slices whole wheat bread
2 slices of cheddarella (or similar) cheese
1 tablespoon diced pimiento peppers
1 medium heirloom or plum tomato, sliced
cooking spray


1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is golden and brown around the edges. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

2. Assemble the sandwiches: place a slice of cheese on two of the slices of bread, top with the onion (half each), the pimientos (half each), and the tomato slices. Top the sandwiches with their missing bread slices.

3. Clean the skillet and coat with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high and then place the sandwiches in the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place a panini press or another skillet on top of the sandwiches to weigh them down while they cook. Cook until the undersides are brown but not burned, and cheese is mostly melted, about 5 minutes.

4. Flip the sandwiches over, replace the weight, and cook on the other side for about 4 minutes, until browned on both sides. Cut in half and serve.

Enjoy! You know you will.


  1. I have never had cheddarella but would think the mozzarella would make it nice and melty on the sandwich!

  2. Absolutely heavenly!

  3. Your sandwich looks so yummy! I've never tried cheddarella, but I'm going to have to look for it and give it a try. Thanks for cooking along with me this week!

  4. I have never heard of cheddarella, very interesting. I love grilled cheeses, I have so many memories of late hihg school nights spent at diners eating grilled cheese and Canadian bacon sandwiches. yum!