Thursday, March 17, 2011

Double Surprise Grilled Cheese

It looks like an innocent cheese sandwich ... but ...
I love grilled cheese sandwiches, but when I saw a post on Serious Eats about making toad-in-a-hole using a grilled cheese sandwich instead of toast, it got me thinking. For one thing, why would I want to get rid of the middle of the sandwich? Why not just put the egg INSIDE the grilled cheese sandwich?

And while I was thinking about it, I thought that all that wonderful richness cried out for something to cut it.

I like fresh tomatoes on my grilled cheese sandwiches, but it's not the season for tomatoes. But hey, what about salsa? Eggs go well with spicy things, like salsas, so why not?

I wanted to end up with a grilled cheese sandwich with a cooked egg with a runny yolk inside, so when it was cut down the center, the yolk would be warm but still oozy, perfect for sopping up with the toasted bread. The idea was great, but the implementation was a little difficult. Soft yolks are very fragile, and any little bit or pressure resulted in  the yolk bursting and oozing onto my cooking surface.

But I persisted. I tried several different methods, some more convoluted then others. Finally, I succeeded. Let me tell you, it was worth it. Very rich, but very worth it. This sandwich has now achieved the status of "that sandwich" as in, "How about if I make that sandwich for dinner tonight?"

I decided to use poached eggs for the sandwich. A fried egg would work as well, but I figured there was enough fat in the cheese and egg and butter, so the egg didn't need to be fried as well. Also, a poached egg is a nice small neat package that can hide well in the middle of a sandwich.

Choose a cheese you like, but make sure it's one that melts well. I used colby longhorn, because it's my favorite for grilled cheese. Slices work, but grated cheese would be easier to form and would probably melt faster as well. Your choice.

When you're poaching the egg, make sure the whites are set enough so that they can support the yolk, but make sure the yolk is still runny. If the whites aren't set enough, the yolk is at more risk of breaking. The egg will warm up a bit inside the sandwich, but it won't cook a lot more, so the yolk will stay runny.

Double-Surprise Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:
2 slices bread
Smear of salsa or hot sauce
Several slices cheese
1 poached egg
Butter, as needed

First, butter the "outsides" of the bread slices (the sides that will be the outsides of the finished sandwich.) Or, if you prefer, melt some butter in a skillet.

Next, spread a layer of your salsa or hot sauce on the "inside" sides of your bread. Depending on how hot your salsa is, and how much heat you like, you might opt to spread it on one slice, or both. I used a pretty hot sauce, so you can barely see it in the sandwich photos here.

Arrange the cheese slices on the bottom half of the bread so that there is a dam of cheese that will surround the egg.. Gently place the poached egg in the center of the sandwich and put the bread in the pan.

Place another slice of cheese on top of the egg. Don't mash it down, just place it very gently on top.

Lay the top slice of bread on top of the cheese. Gently. DO NOT MASH DOWN.

Cook the sandwich on medium heat until the bread is browned and the cheese begins to melt. Gently turn the sandwich over to cook on the other side until that side is browned and the cheese is melted. At this point, the egg should be fully encased in the cheese, and there should be just a bit of melted cheese oozing out the sides of the sandwich.

While it might be amusing to serve this to an unsuspecting person and have the egg burst open when they get to the center of the sandwich, it's a better idea to slice the sandwich in half and let the egg ooze out, and sop up the egg with the bread.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


sheila @ Elements said...

What a wonderful and creative idea! I'm getting hungry just looking at the pictures! I'll give this a whirl one morning for breakfast! Can't wait! :)

Anonymous said...

That looks yummy! ;)

Morgan said...

Ooooh goodness. Runny egg yolks and I have a special relationship. Cheese and I do too. Come to think of it, so does bread. I need this NOW!

Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living said...

There is nothing like a runny yolk. Oh, except maybe for a runny yolk inside a grilled cheese sandwich ;). Fantastic idea! I NEED to make this.

Anonymous said...

One word, YUM!!

Anonymous said...

I made this with some homemade tomato basil jam and a touch of hot sauce. Holy yumminess! Thanks for the idea!

Lita said...

Yummy!! I like the sound of that. What about a couple of strips of bacon?

Donna Currie said...

@Lita, bacon would be amazing. Or ham...

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