Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Big Sal

By Paul Briand

April is Grilled Cheese Month … who knew?

So, in light of that eureka moment, I’ve found a grilled cheese recipe that is way beyond what you’d expect of a grilled cheese sandwich.

It’s called The Big Sal, and it’s included as part of a recipe contest for grilled cheese promoted by Tasting Table, which describes itself as “the free daily email for adventurous eaters everywhere.”

(The Big Sal, if you want to find it on the link above, is No. 25 on the slideshow.)

This dish serves four and is a gooey combination of sweet Italian sausage and different kind of cheeses melted into ciabatta rolls using a panini press. Like I said, it’s not your mama’s grilled cheese sandwich.

A couple of notes on this: I grilled my sausages using my outdoor gas grill, and I skipped the 15 minutes of baking.

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 sweet Italian sausages
2 onions, such as Vidalia, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 large bell pepper, sliced ¼ inch thick
4 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
4 ciabatta rolls
4 ounces Wisconsin Asiago cheese, grated
8 ?-inch thick slices fresh mozzarella
White or black truffle oil, optional
1 cup jarred, roasted red pepper strips

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat  2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in large, oven-safe sauté pan over medium heat;
2.  Add sausages and brown on all sides. Remove sausages to plate and return pan to stove;
3. Add onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes.
4. Cut sausages in half lengthwise and place in pan with vegetables;
5. Place pan in oven and bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven;
6. Preheat panini grill over medium-high heat. Drizzle buns with olive oil and halve;
7. Place 1 ounce (generous 1/8 cup) grated Asiago cheese on each roll bottom; top with 1 slice mozzarella;
8. Layer with 2 sausage halves and approximately 1/2 cup of the onions-peppers-mushrooms;
9. Drizzle with a few drops of white or black truffle oil, if using. (A little goes a long way.);
10. Top with 1/4 cup pepper strips, additional slice mozzarella, and ciabatta tops;
11. Place in panini press for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is golden brown.

Click here for recipe card.

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