19 March 2008

Rustic Grilled Cheese and Asparagus Sandwich

It's been raining all day, and spring is definitely in the air around our nation's capitol. There was a plethora of fresh asparagus (Spargle auf Deutsch) at the market over the weekend, so I picked some up. I cooked most of it for Sunday Supper with Andrea, but I left a single serving for myself for this week. When I decided that I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner, I concluded that the only way to do it was to really do it. If I want to fancy myself an epicurian, I need to cook like one, right?

So, after my trip to the gym, I went straight to the cheese section at whole foods. I grabbed two cheeses: a sweet, nutty Parrano, and the firm, sharp Gruyere. I decided that between those two flavors, by adding the mildy bitter and sweet taste of the Spargle, it would be a perfect combination. Then, I realized that the sandwich wouldn't be complete without a nice, crusty bread to go with it.

Off to the bakery!

In the bakery section, I found a hunk of the whole foods' brand harvest bread that they called Pain de Champagne. Gooey, chewy, and soft on the inside, the bread was also hard and crusty on the outside. Excellent!

I got it home and hacked the hunk of bread into slices, and buttered it. While I steamed my prepared asparagus, I sliced up the cheese. Once the asparagus was done, I placed it on top of the Parrano, and put the Gruyere on top of that, and then topped it with the other piece of bread. Now, with all of the slivers of cheese, I knew that I couldn't just grill the sandwich on the stove top.

Presto! I pulled out my handy dandy George Foreman grill and slapped that baby right on there. I heard the butter start to sizzle when I pushed the top down. My rustic, American grilled cheese was now an Italian Panino. Yum!

And my instincts were spot on. In picking the asparagus to go with these two cheeses (Parrano and Gruyere) I picked the trifecta.

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