Friday, May 14, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich

I ran across the recipe for The Pioneer Woman's favorite sandwich a few days ago. A grilled cheese sandwich with hatch green chiles? Oh, hell yes. 

First, let me say that I adore grilled cheese sandwiches. Good grilled cheese sandwiches. A good grilled cheese sandwich should have a buttery, lacy, golden-brown exterior with a gooey, cheesy interior. Soggy bread and grainy, greasy cheese make for a sad grilled cheese sandwich. Beyond that, I'm up for just about any interesting ingredients, so long as the qualities mentioned supra are in no way compromised. I'm always interested in trying new cheeses and flavors in my grilled cheese. So when I saw her recipe that included hatch green chiles, oh baby, I just about fainted. I love hatch green chiles. 

Every August, Papa buys a bunch of hatch green chiles, roasts and then freezes them. I used the last of my share a month ago, but I was fairly certain he still had a stash in his freezer. It was my intention to pilfer some sweet hatch goodness to make this wicked, wicked sandwich. 

I attempted the recipe for lunch yesterday. I won't repeat the whole recipe since you can find it here, but in short it's a grilled sandwich with cheddar, provolone, sliced tomatoes, a whole green chile, and red onion. Before I started, I noticed several things I already liked. First, she uses two types of cheese. Cheddar provides great flavor and provolone contributes smooth, creaminess. Also, I she uses my preferred method of buttering the bread rather than the skillet. 

The only modification I made to the recipe was to let the sliced tomato rest on paper towels for a few minutes to draw out extra moisture. 

I cooked the sandwiches on an electric griddle, about twice as long as the recipe recommended since I like my cheese completely melted. 

I asked Papa for his feedback. His response was, "Cut some of the cheese - either no provolone or only one slice. Too much cheese dominated the flavor of the three veggies. Serve with olives. Perhaps thicker bread. I would like to try it with a hoagie bun cut in half so as to contain the cheese."

Too much cheese? Whaaaaa? Is that even possible for a grilled cheese sandwich? Then I realized that we were having a philosophical disagreement. To me this was a grilled cheese sandwich flavored with vegetables. For him this should have been a vegetable sandwich flavored with the cheese. To me, the cheese is the star of the sandwich. Everything else the supporting cast to enhance the flavor of the cheese. I want the flavor of the cheese to dominate. 

And in my opinion, the vegetables performed beautifully. I was worried that the raw onions would be too strong, but they were perfect. The flavors were nicely balanced and dimensional. The hatch chile was a bit too spicy for me, so I took about half out of my sandwich, but I might be a bit of a pansy ass. 

I wouldn't cut back on the cheese. No way, no how. Forget it. I would use thinner tomatoes, perhaps cut with a mandoline, and I would salt them a bit as they drained. I would try to cut all the ingredients as thinly as possible, but I'd keep the bread the same thickness. I'd also like to experiment with different cheeses. 

Will I make it again? Definitely. I've been craving all day. I'll probably make it again this weekend. 

No comments:

Post a Comment