Yes, the flavours of a grilled cheese sandwich in a salad. The distinct flavours that make a grilled cheese iconic are mainly the crispy, yet chewy nature of the bread flavoured with butter and the softness as you bite into it. The sharpness of the cheese flavour. And if you’re like many North Americans, you’ve grown up with that flavour dipped into tomato soup.
I decided to take those flavours and have them appear in various ways. The softness of the gooey cheese is now the butter dressed soft, sweet mix of greens. The crisp yet chewy exterior are brought forth with butter toasted croutons and gruyere fricco…
Fricco? Yes, the toasted cheese crisp usually done with pecorino or parmesan, that when it’s done with gruyere, gives both a crisp and slightly chewy element depending on where you chew. Finally a brown butter roasted tomato that becomes part of the dressing and the garnish.
Grilled Cheese Salad
For the Gruyere Fricco:
2 Tbsp shredded gruyere cheese
Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the shredded cheese in the centre of the pan and allow it to start to sizzle.
As the cheese melts, it will start to bubble in the middle. Leave it for a short time (the first fricco may take a little longer if the pan isn’t heated up to the right point, but it’ll get there).
Don’t try to move the sizzling fricco until it gets slightly golden from the heat. It will release from the pan easily and it is done and ready to remove to a paper towel to drain of its excess oil. Repeat with the other tablespoon of shredded cheese. Set aside.
For the Butter Toasted Croutons:
1/2 cup roughly torn rye bread (rough 2 cm/1″ pieces)
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp oil
In a nonstick pan over medium heat, heat the butter and oil until it sizzles. Add the chunks of bread and brown the bread on all sides until deeply golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
For the Brown Butter Roasted Tomatoes:
7 or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cold pressed canola oil
In a nonstick pan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until sizzling. Add the tomatoes, cut side down, and pan roast until it is golden on the cut side. Turn the tomatoes as the butter starts to turn brown and lightly roast for a further 60-90 seconds. Take off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
For the salad:
4 cups sweet mixed greens (butter lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine, etc)
Reserved Gruyere Fricco
Reserved Butter Toasted Croutons
Reserved Brown Butter Roasted Tomatoes
In a large bowl, combine the mixed greens and the tomato-infused brown butter from the Brown Butter Roasted Tomatoes. Toss with your fingers and divide over two plates. Garnish the top of each with crumbled Gruyere Fricco, Butter Toasted Croutons and Brown Butter Roasted Tomatoes. Serves 2.