Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Oh, and can I get a side of cheese with that please?
My day yesterday was a cheese lover’s-cheesehead-dream sandwiched between slices of pretzel bread, sourdough and even a shout out to challah (hollah!) all to be consumed in less than two hours.
Over the last few months, I’ve shared the details of this contest with you and it’s finally all come down to this. The day had arrived. A grilled cheese reckoning. Homage to the great grilled cheese. The medal of honor to all things gooey and melty. The day I became an official judge for the Grilled Cheese Academy’s Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdown.
Following a selection process that had been narrowed down to the final seven recipe contestants, I went to Madison, WI to meet with my fellow judges from Wisconsin Cheese to determine which of these recipes would become the grand prize winner of a $5,000 prize package. (photos thanks to Mike)
My assignment was both heavenly and a tad treacherous due to the ponderings of where I might possibly find the room to ingest and digest seven grilled cheese sandwiches in the span of two hours. After fretting over what my strategy for consumption should be, I turned to my pals on Facebook who had some stellar suggestions—mostly to take little bites—but a few more, not so obvious suggestions:
Patty said: “Prune juice as a chaser?”
Green Beans & Grapefruit said: “Bring a friend???”
Loaves n Dishes said: “I’m thinking lots of water and fresh citrus. I always like some acid to cut the fat.”
Lori said: “Sharper the better! Best warm or room temp.”
Dessi said: “Like wine judging, spit in a bucket after every bite.”
and finally Kelley suggested: “Stuff your face and enjoy every minute of it.”
Excellent suggestions that got me though the trenches and delivered a big smile to my face and some delicious recipe ideas twirling in my head.
While I can’t reveal who the recipe winner was—that announcement will be coming soon—I can share some behind the scenes pics and a grilled cheese sandwich I created to prep my tastebuds to step up to the occasion.
My Mushroom and Kale Grilled Cheese recipe for Go Bold With Butter combines sautéed greens with earthy mushrooms and onions that mildly complement creamy fontina on crispy sourdough. Whole food goodness in a grilled cheese sandwich. It was this combo my husband surprisingly deemed his favorite of the many grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve shared so far this year. So far this year…Does that mean there will be more? Only the cheese gods know for sure.
Mushroom and Kale Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 12-15 small brown mushrooms sliced (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup onion chopped
- ¾ cup kale leaves stemmed and chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- 4 slices garlic sourdough bread
- 8 slices Baby Swiss Cheese
- Heat a medium-sized skillet to medium high, add 1 tablespoon butter and heat to melt. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes then add onion and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes and then add kale and red pepper flakes and sauté until onion is translucent and kale has softened. Season with kosher salt and remove from heat.
- Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread, then stack buttered sides together. Layer 2 slices Baby Swiss on top of bread stack, then add kale and mushroom mixture then 2 more slices of Baby Swiss. Place bread buttered side down in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Cover with lid and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden.
- Reduce heat to medium and flip sandwich to other side and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bread is toasty golden and cheese has melted. The second side will cook faster than the first so watch carefully. Repeat with next sandwich.
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