Thursday, January 21, 2010

Smoky Grilled Cheese Panini + Roma Tomato Jam

This was an incredible little grilled cheese. The sweet, tangy tomato jam played perfectly off the smokiness of the grilled bread while the mild provolone provided the perfect backdrop. It may be good enough to win The Grilled Cheese Invitational next year...I may have to make a little road trip.

For the roma tomato jam:
(makes 1.5 cups)

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 large roma tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon butter
5 or 6 turns of the pepper mill
pinch of salt

All ingredients go into a saucepan. Simmer until the tomatoes break down. This should take about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Return pan to the heat and allow it to simmer on low until it is thick. It will resemble a thick ketchup. Allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the smoky grilled cheese panini:
*Special equipment: cast-iron grill pan
(serves two)

roma tomato jam
8 slices of provolone
1 loaf ciabatta
olive oil

Slice the loaf in half and trim the ends. Place grill pan over medium high heat. Thinly slice the crust off the top. Save top crust for a later use. Slice each half lengthwise to make the top and bottom of the sandwich. Divide cheese between halves and slather on a few tablespoons of the tomato jam. Drizzle each sandwich with olive oil and place in the grill pan. It should take 2- 3 minutes per side. Serve with your favorite Italian soup.

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