Sunday, January 3

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich? On cold winter days grilled cheese sandwiches and hot soup is a staple at our house.
But in the middle of winter I am constantly craving (and dreaming about) the fresh garden vegetables that were huge a part of our meals in warmer months. I do can most of our garden produce but it's just not the same.

I came up with this sandwich to add a little more nutrients and vitamins to a traditional grilled cheese sandwich but it's also just darn delicious!
Caprese is typically a salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil.
For an over the top grilled cheese sandwich I always, always start with a really good bread. It and the quality of the cheese makes the sandwich, in my opinion. I got that tip when I was very young from my sister Julie. She could make the best sandwiches in the world and the bread was always a key factor. Thanks Julie.

For a unique flavor use different types of cheeses

I myself prefer a really good oat nut bread or multi-grain bread, which adds lots of flavor but use whatever bread is your favorite.
I also only use real butter and I use many different flavors of fresh block cheese.

Different brands of premade presto
For the pesto you can make homemade but there are a few really good brands of pre-made pesto on the market, each of which has just a slightly different taste.

During winter months we call the store bought tomatoes “fake” tomatoes because they lack flavor and have a hard weird texture. But sometimes you can get either organic or hot house grown tomatoes in the winter that have some flavor or use Roma tomatoes which seem a little better.

This grilled cheese sandwich takes a little more time and effort than a regular boring grilled cheese but the combination of tomato, cheese and basil is well worth the effort.

And just a note: You will have to, just have to try this sandwich in the summer with garden fresh tomatoes, basil and spinach! Trust me.

So here's how I make the sandwich:

Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 or 3 slices of your favorite cheeses (Swiss, Gouda, apple wood smoked or any aged cheese)
2 slices of good oat nut, multi-grain or other bread
1 small jar of pesto (or homemade)
Sliced tomatoes
Baby spinach leaves
Real butter, softened

Place buttered bread in skillet, add cheese & pesto, put together then brown

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
Heat skillet over medium heat and place bread butter side down in skillet
Lay slices of cheese on one slice of bread.
Spread pesto on the other slice.
Put the pesto slice on top of the cheese slice.

Cook to golden brown, remove from skillet and add tomatoes

Cover skillet with a lid and let sandwich cook for just a minute or two. The lid will help hold in the heat and melt the cheese without having the heat up so high it burns the sandwich.
And speaking of burning, I'll say it again, do not have the heat up too high and make sure to keep an eye on the sandwich that you do not burn it.

Add tomatoes and baby spinach

Right now I am obsessed with the new Jon Favreau movie “Chef”. I can't wait to make a Cubano Sandwich but I also just love the scene in the movie where the chef makes a grilled cheese sandwich, it's a total labor of love and how a grilled cheese should be made.
Anyways back to our sandwich; when the bottom slice of bread turns golden brown, flip the sandwich over.

Cut sandwich in half and enjoy

When both sides are golden brown and cheese is melted, remove from the skillet and place on a plate.
Open the sandwich and add sliced tomatoes to one slice and baby spinach leaves to the other slice.
(I like to add a few fresh basil leaves from my garden in the summer for even more basil flavor).
Put the sandwich back together and cut in half.


Serve with a hot bowl of soup in the winter or with kettle cooked chips and ice tea in the summer.  

Hope you love this sandwich as much as we do,

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Anonymous said...

I tried this and the results are so amazing and good I posted a pic of it on Instragram! Thanks for sharing an amazing grilled cheese! Carrie

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Glad you liked it. I'll search Instragram and see if I can find the photo

Anonymous said...

Oh my, sounds so good. Going to try this over the weekend, thanks. June Yarcoff

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Great, let me know what you think June!