In Celebration of Grilled Cheese

by on April 22, 2008

Grilled Raclette Cheese & Honey Panini

As I previously announced, I’ve launched a new series called On Your Grill where I invite you toOn Your Grill submit your suggestions for panini and I’ll choose a few each month to test out on Panini Happy. First up is a recommendation from Tiffany of Geneva, Switzerland (by way of Washington, DC!):

The best grilled cheese I’ve ever made is with raclette cheese on slices of french bread. To die for.

Quite a strong recommendation – sounds enticing! Thanks for the idea, Tiffany. I can’t say I’ve ever had raclette cheese, but I’m always up for sampling new cheeses so I decided to give this idea a go. By the way, did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month? Seriously. Want to skip ahead? Click here for the final recipe.

“To Die For” Grilled Cheese Panini – Attempt #1

  • Bread: French
  • Meat: None
  • Cheese: Raclette
  • Condiments: None
  • “Goodies”: None

THE PREPARATION: I decided to read up a little on raclette before I got started. Turns out it’s a Swiss cheese – not the kind with the holes, but a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese that’s often used in fondue. Huh. Well, if it’s good in fondue, then it’s probably an excellent candidate for panini – sounds to me like a cheese that melts well. I had no trouble finding it at Bristol Farms in the specialty cheese section. And I was kind of pleased with myself to be bringing home something a little more interesting than cheddar for once (although I still love you, cheddar!).

THE CONSTRUCTION: I thought I’d make Tiffany’s sandwich exactly as she described it for the initial attempt. Never having tasted raclette, I needed to get at least a baseline understanding of the flavors. This was, by far, the simplest sandwich I’ve made to date on this blog: brushed some melted butter on the outer sides of the bread, put a few slices of cheese in the middle and grilled on medium-high heat for a whopping 3 minutes.

THE RESULTS: Wow, that is delicious! The cheese melted beautifully, kind of stretchy like mozzarella. The flavor kind of reminded me of a really, really mild brie. I also detected a slight sweetness to it. The crisp, buttery French bread was a great accompaniment as its mildness really allowed the raclette to be the star. As good as this was, I thought I might be able to take things up one more little notch by tapping into that sweet flavor I tasted. I once had a pecorino and honey appetizer and I wondered whether honey might work here as well. On to Attempt #2!

Grilled Cheese & Honey Panini – Attempt #2

Okay, so this was the second-simplest sandwich I’ve made to date on this blog. I spread a little honey on the bread before adding the cheese this time.

THE RESULTS: Positively addictive! That touch of sweetness from the honey was a wonderful complement to the raclette. Incredibly simple, yet incredibly tasty. Thanks to Tiffany, this is now my favorite grilled cheese too!

Get the final recipe!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffany April 22, 2008 at 5:47 am

That picture looks fantastic! I’m so glad that someone else now shares my raclette grilled cheese addiction. I’ll definitely try the honey addition next time I make it. It’s also really good with mustard and ham, just FYI. I think that a raclette-honey mustard-ham panini might be the holy grail. I’ll report back. 🙂
— Tiffany

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2 Julie April 22, 2008 at 6:29 pm

This sounds fabulous! I love trying new cheeses and I love honey. I’m curious to hear how the raclette-honey-mustard-ham panini turns out…

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3 PaniniKathy April 22, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Tiffany – Thanks again for the great idea!

Julie – Definitely give it a try!

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4 Col April 24, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Hi Kathy– your SIL Colleen here. Andrew and I always get raclette from this place whenever we’re in northern Michigan… yum!

http://www.blackstarfarms.com/creamery/

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5 CalBella07 April 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I tried this last night with a fig spread from Whole Foods on Sour-Whole Wheat bread. I have never been so happy with grilled cheese in my life!! I love the flavor of the cheese. Its like having a mild brie without being too runny when it melts. I will have to try the ham next!

Angela

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6 Julie April 30, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I bought some cheese over the weekend and I don’t even want to admit to how many I’ve eaten over the last few days! So good!

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