This weekend is the third annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, an event that has me -- and all my colleagues on the Cabot E-Team -- aflutter. The Festival is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10. We're all so excited that Chef Mark Molinaro will be at the Cabot booth on those days making his signature Croque Monsieur, which as we all know, is just a fancy version of the time-honored favorite and go-to Cabot Comfort Favorite...GRILLED CHEESE!
The other great news is that Cabot will be teaming up with Wines That Rock, a very cool company that bills itself as The Official Wine of Rock 'N Roll. Between the two booths, it's going to be one big party with Chef Molinaro's cooking demonstrations, Wines That Rock's pairing suggestions and samples of The World's Best Cheddar. It's a win/win/win!
To celebrate the goodness of Grilled Cheese, I invited Andrew Scherer, passionate foodie, wonderful cook, and husband of Wendy Scherer, one of my E-teammates, to do a guest post about his version of our sandwich of choice.
Andrew's Super Yummy Herbed Grilled Cheese
After hearing that Chef Mark Molinaro was going to represent Cabot at the the third annual Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival, I was inspired to create my own idea for a grilled cheese sandwich. When I get inspired like this, my first step is open the fridge and see what's available. The first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful baby arugula we have been getting most weeks from our CSA and some prosciutto. And of course, Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar. (We also had Cabot Horseradish Cheddar, 50% reduced fat, and Cabot Chipotle Cheddar, by the way!) So I decided to make an Italian style grilled cheese.
(Serves 4) 4 oz. Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, sliced thin Loaf of crusty bread 2 ripe tomatoes 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small) ¼ tsp dried thyme ¼ tsp dried oregano ¼ tsp dried basil 2 tb extra virgin olive oil 1 tbl balsamic vinegar 2 oz prosciutto (about 8 paper thin slices) 2 C baby arugula salt pepper
The first step is to make a tomato relish: Chop tomatoes to 1/2 inch dice. Combine in a small bowl with half of the garlic, minced, the herbs, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste, about ¼ tsp each. I like to crush the herbs in my palm before I add them as it helps intensify the flavor by releasing the oils. Mix well and set aside
Slice the bread, and rub one side of each piece with the cut end of the garlic clove you have left (or cut the unused small clove in half and use it).
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a 12” skillet, until just beginning to smoke. Add the prosciutto a few pieces at a time and let them get crispy. Remove and drain each on a paper towel. Turn off heat and set pan aside (you’ll need it in a few minutes)
Assemble each sandwich as follows: Bread (garlic side in) Cheese Crispy prosciutto Big handful of arugula 1 to 2 tb of the tomato relish Other slice of bread
Take the pan you used for the prosciutto and return to heat – there should still be a good amount of the olive left, if not add until bottom is filmed. Fry each sandwich, no more than two at a time in the pan, pressing down to simulate a Panini press. Flip after the bottom has browned (2 to 3 minutes at most), pres again, remove, slice in half and serve.
A huge hit with my family, and I hope with yours as well.