Saturday, May 10, 2008

Grilled cheese for a birthday girl

I'm sitting in my mother-in-law's easy chair, listening to my son- and brother-in-law fix the screen door (the one that I walked through earlier), watching three grandchildren play on the floor. Both the birthday girl, who's one today, and last month's birthday boy are walking.

Life can't get much better!

In honor of Nevaeh's birthday, her mother and I prepared a quick dinner with grilled cheese sandwiches. The adults had grilled cheese with asparagus and roasted red peppers. Farm-fresh asparagus and roasted red peppers (either from a jar or freshly roasted) gave the adults a nice grown-up sandwich. I made grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches for the children.


I clipped this recipe from one of my food service trade journals several years ago. It makes enough for 12 sandwiches.

2 pounds asparagus
1 cup prepared balsamic-garlic-olive oil vinaigrette
12 ounces sliced fontina cheese
16 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 cups roasted red peppers
1 cup fresh basil leaves
24 slices sourdough bread, brushed with extra virgin olive oil

To prepare asparagus, gently cook in simmering water for two or three minutes. Then submerge asparagus in a waiting bowl of ice water. Remove, drain and toss with vinaigrette. Let stand covered and refrigerated at least two hours before using.

Lay 12 slices of bread on clean, flat surface. Top each slice with (in order):

2 slices fontina
3 marinated, drained spears asparagus
3-4 fresh basil leaves
2-1/2 tablespoons red pepper pieces
2 slices mozzarella

Top with second slice of bread. Cover and reserve. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and griddle sandwiches on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to a sheet pan and warm in 350-degree F. oven 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through.

Cut each sandwich on the diagonal to serve. Serve any remaining marinated asparagus with the sandwiches.

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