Viviane Bauquet Farre
What is it about melted cheese? Just about anything oozing with melted cheese tastes delicious — like melted mozzarella on a flatbread pizza; sweet, nutty Asiago in a luscious mac and cheese; or earthy fontina in an unbearably sinful fondue with chipotle and tequila.
But perhaps the simplest recipe — the most adored of all — is the grilled cheese sandwich. When prepared with a crusty bread and stuffed with a cheese that melts to perfection, it is essentially irresistible. Here, this beloved sandwich takes on a gourmet twist. The secret ingredient: garlic confit!
When garlic is gently poached in olive oil, it becomes sweet, with a subtle flavor. The cloves become so soft that you can spread them on your toast — or in this case, in your grilled cheese sandwich. Pair the mellow garlic confit with zingy baby arugula and a nutty, pungent aged Cheddar, Gruyère, or fontina, and every luscious bite is mouthwatering.
*Note: Click here to see the Garlic Confit Recipe. As an alternative to the garlic confit, you can also substitute garlic-infused oil.
Place 4 slices bread on a cutting board and brush with the olive oil reserved from the garlic confit. Turn the slices over and spread the grated cheese on the non-oiled side. Top each slice with a heap of the baby arugula.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the garlic confit on the remaining slices of bread. Place them on top of the baby greens and press firmly to seal the sandwiches. Brush the top of the sandwiches with the remaining oil.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sandwiches, reduce heat to medium, and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook the other side until golden brown and the cheese has melted completely, about 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.