Friday, October 23, 2009

Grilled Cheese with Shallots

Serve with an arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and best-quality olive oil.

2 large shallots
3 T unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 slices country white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick

5 ounces Cantal cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick

Preparing the shallots:
Cut the shallots in half lengthwise and peel them. Place the shallots cutside down. Slice lengthwise into about one-eighth-inch wedges. In a small sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring often until the shallots are caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preparing the sandwich:
Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl in the pan until it is melted. Place the two slices of bread in the pan and toast for a minute or two until just beginning to color. Divide the cheese evenly between the two pieces and top with the shallots.

Place the pan in the oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crispy. Remove to a cutting board and carefully assemble the sandwich, placing together the two slices of bread. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.


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