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Gooey goodness: grilled cheese

By Mary Constantine
Scripps Howard News Service
Have you ever swiped molten cheese off the side of a sandwich so as to not lose one ounce of that gooey goodness?
Me, too, and pain from the scorched finger was worth every bit of pleasure I received from that melted morsel.
There’s just something about hot melted cheese that makes a person lose her senses, or ignite them, as the case may be.
It’s the main ingredient in the ultimate comfort food, macaroni and cheese, and an essential partner in pizza.
It also holds its own between two slices of bread, proven through the following recipes featured in Laura Werlin’s new cookbook, “Grilled Cheese, Please!” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99). The book includes a recipe for pimento grilled cheese using a recipe from Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
Mozzarella with Crispy Proscuitto and Broccoli Rabe
Yields 4 sandwiches
8 thin slices prosciutto
(about 4 ounces)
1/4 C. olive oil
12 ounces broccoli rabe
(about 1 bunch), tough
stems removed and
coarsely chopped (or use
Swiss chard or Tuscan
kale)
1 tps. freshly squeezed
lemon juice
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. salt
8 sandwich-size slices
Italian bread
8 ounces mozzarella
cheese, drained and
sliced if water-packed;
otherwise, coarsely
grated
Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat and line a plate with paper towels. Add prosciutto slices to skillet and cook until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes, on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. The prosciutto will become crisper as it cools.
Add enough oil to make 2 tablespoons fat in the pan. Heat over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft, tender and caramelized around a few of the edges. Add water to the pan if it seems dry. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt. Toss to coat. Transfer broccoli to a plate. Wipe out skillet but do not wash.
Brush remaining oil on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices, oil side down, on work surface. Distribute broccoli rabe and follow with prosciutto. Pile cheese on top, compressing it with your hand if necessary. Top with remaining bread slices, oil side up.
Heat skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put sandwiches into pan, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the undersides are golden brown. Turn sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes until undersides are well browned.
Remove cover, turn the sandwiches once more and press firmly with spatula once again. Cook 1 minute or until cheese has melted completely. Remove from pan and let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.
Pimento Grilled Cheese
Yields 4 sandwiches
3/4 C. Blackberry Farm pimen
to cheese (recipe below)
1/2 C. coarsely chopped celery
2 Tbs. butter, at room
temperature
8 slices brioche
In medium bowl mix together pimento cheese and celery.
To assemble, spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down, on work surface. Spread cheese mixture on bread. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
Heat skillet over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Put sandwiches into pan, cover and cook 3-4 minutes, until undersides are golden brown. Turn sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with spatula to flatten slightly.
Cover and cook 2-3 minutes until undersides are well browned. Remove cover, turn sandwiches one more time and press firmly with spatula. Cook until cheese is warmed through completely and bread is crisp.
Remove from pan and let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.
Pimento Cheese
Yields approximately 3 cups
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
6 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbs. dill-pickle brine
11/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Frank’s Red Hot sauce
(or your favorite hot sauce)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black
pepper
1/3C. finely chopped red bell
pepper (or use red
pimentos from a jar, drained)
1 pound cheddar cheese,
finely grated (see note)
Mix together garlic, mayonnaise, pickle brine, mustard, hot sauce, salt and black pepper in medium bowl. Stir in red peppers and cheese. Mix well.
Note: Blackberry Farm prepares its pimento cheese using its award-winning Singing Brook sheep’s-milk cheese. It’s available online at www.blackberryfarm.com/shop.

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