As I previously announced, I’ve launched a new series called On Your Grill where I invite you to 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!
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