Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OF DONUTS AND PRACTICALITY . . . OR . . . INSIDE OUT GRILLED CHEESE

I was in the mood for an easy dinner, and grilled cheese seemed like the perfect solution. I rarely run low on cheese in the Eggplant Kitchen, and had some Kenny's Farmhouse cheddar, chive jack, and tomme that would deliver the oozy goodness I was after.
But the only bread in the house was half a loaf of focaccia. Sturdy and dusted with rosemary and thyme, it would certainly be flavorful, but it was only an inch and a half thick. Slicing it from top to bottom would yield miniscule pieces with barely enough surface area to be worth the trouble. On the other hand, if I sliced across the round loaf, I wouldn't be able to get a crispy sandwich exterior from the top and bottom of the loaf.
Then I remembered the unique grilled cheese donut offered by Tom + Chee, a pop-up eatery that operated out of a tent last winter adjacent to the ice skating rink on Fountain Square. The name refers to their primary menu items, a variety of tomato soups and grilled cheese sandwiches, which they served along with hot chocolate - perfect outdoor winter fare. (Happily they'll be back on the Square June 1 with an expanded menu.)

Although I sampled a number of their soups and sandwiches in December, I couldn't quite bring myself to go for their signature sandwich, a grilled cheese made with a glazed donut. However, I remembered that they grilled the donut inside out - cut side, not glazed side on the griddle - and, taking a similar tack, my focaccia conundrum was solved. I fried a couple of slices of bacon and layered them with cheese between slices of crust-inward bread.



Once I get a good crust on the bread, I usually place a lid partially over the skillet to encourage the cheese to melt. But this sandwich was taller than the sides of my skillet. So I improvised, with another pot over the skillet, ajar so the cheese would melt but I wouldn't steam all the crispness out of the sandwich.

Worked like a charm. With a side of asparagus spritzed with Meyer lemon juice (which also helped balance the fatty goodness of the sandwich), it was the perfect plate of comfort food for a chilly spring evening.

8 comments:

Making Space said...

Oh my god. A grilled cheese that rises higher than the skillet in which is is being cooked? I think I just fainted.

Heff said...

MAN, that looks GREAT !!!

I don't know if you've heard anything about the current "Culinary Smackdown INFRACTION", but BAMATRAV will be hosting, and announce the info about it next week.

intuitive eggplant said...

MS, you can pick yourself up off the floor, but it was a darn fine grilled cheese.

Heff, thanks for the heads up. I'd been looking for BamaTrav's announcement, and now I've seen Troll's too. You silly boys . . .

Making Space said...

Well damn. I was all upright and then I clicked over here and saw that sandwich again and BAM. LOL

TROLL Y2K said...

Great improvisation. I like that much better than I'd like it made from a glazed donut.

Sorry, you were one of the ones burned when Heff pulled his "joke" by selecting his neighbor the psychopath before the contest started.

All prior Throwdowns were good clean fun and I'll do what I can to ensure future ones are too.

You'll have a legit chance to win at the Throwdown on May 7th. And you won't have to visit Bama's blog which features child-rape "poems" and odes to Charles Manson and Ted Bundy.

Big Shamu said...

Ummmm bypassing all the drama and heading straight for the BACON. Lusciousness on a plate. Nice try at the healthy side, like having a diet Coke with a Super Sized Meal Deal at Micky D's.

Even the donut version is too much for me.

LaDivaCucina said...

LOL to Sham and busting you on the diet coke!! tee hee! Great idea, I'd be happy eating this whichever way you grilled it! YUM!

intuitive eggplant said...

Heheheheheh. Actually, I love asparagus so much that I was thinking of it more as an indulgence than as a deliberately healthy side. And I was eating it with Sauce Maltaise, so not so Diet Coke like :)

Thanks, all, for stopping by.