After watching Anthony Bourdain's Food Porn special and seeing a ridiculous tallegio, braised short rib and pickled onion grilled cheese get made, I thought it might be fun to re-create that sandwich along with some other variations for a gourmet grilled cheese dinner. Yesterday after some great finds at the Rose Bowl flea market, we stopped by Trader Joe's to pick up ingredients to make three different grilled cheeses. The combinatons we decided on were:
#1: blackberry, basil, fontina (recipe here)
#2: bbq beef, pickled red onions, cheddar/gruyere
#3: avocado, sriracha, gouda (similar recipe here)
Every single one of this was great (hard to go wrong with anything that includes melted cheese), but the favorite by far was #3. The spicy sriracha mixed with creamy avocado and strong gouda flavor turned out to be a very simple but winning combo. The blackberry/basil one was great, but was definitely lacking a big punch of flavor since Fontina is a relatively mild cheese. The BBQ beef option was hearty and filled with flavor and crunch from the pickled onions, but this one felt more like the BBQ beef was the center stage of the sandwich rather than a grilled cheese.
Three grilled cheese sandwiches between two people is definitely a decadent dinner option and I can't imagine this will be a new weeknight staple, but a trio of grilled cheeses would make for a great appetizer for guests served sliced into bite size portions!