So this is where I’m supposed to go on and on about how delicious this grilled cheese sandwich is. And what’s in it. And why it’s a rockstar recipe that nobody else has. And why you need to make it now.
But guess what? I just did a food photo shoot for a NYC catering company and bakery for the past 2 days and shot at least 1000 photos that need to be culled through and selected to share with my clients and it’s enough to make your head spin faster than Linda Blair in The Exorcist. AND the fact that the Mad Men finale is coming on in less than 2 hours and I have some catching up to do and some last savoring moments of Don Draper to hold on to while I can.
OK – so now that I got that off my chest, here’s a little ditty of a recipe that I whipped up on Friday afternoon for a grilled cheese contest I entered for Wisconsin Cheese. It’s actually quite lovely and spring-y and full of good things. Homemade Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, strawberries, granny smith apples, grilled chicken paillards, kale with lemon and parmesan, honey dijon mustard, melted sharp white cheddar and gooey mozzarella cheese – all grilled on a whole wheat pita (actually 2 of them).
It’s called California Dreamin’ Grilled Cheese because all the good things inside remind me of a sunny, breezy day on Pacific Beach in San Diego watching the sunset with a margarita in my hand with my toes in the sand, salty sea mist on my face, while basking in the glow and enjoying everything in life there is to offer. So here you go. Whether I win the contest or not – it’s absolutely fabulous, and will make you want to hop on a plane to the west coast and catch a few rays yourself.
Now back to my Sauvignon Blanc and Don Draper fix. Enjoy and Happy Sunday!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 whole wheat pitas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise and pounded thin
- 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup green apple, sliced
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Wisconsin Parmesan, shredded
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 slices Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar, sliced
- 4 slices Wisconsin Mozzarella
- 4 tablespoons Strawberry-Rhubarb compote
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced or chopped
- 1 stalk rhubarb, sliced into small chunks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
- Stir strawberries, 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp of water in a small nonreactive pan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the rhubarb, 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp of water back into same pan and simmer for about 6 minutes until rhubarb is tender and soft. Transfer rhubarb to same bowl as strawberries and add all liquid to the pan through a strainer.
- Raise heat to medium high and simmer until liquid thickens and reduces to almost half.
- Return strawberries and rhubarb to liquid and let cool.
- Make sandwich:
- Preheat olive oil in a grill pan or sauté pan to medium/high heat.
- Mix honey and mustard together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Rub chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill chicken pieces for about 6-8 minutes until cooked through, remove from pan.
- Spread both pitas on one side with butter.
- Spread each pita on reverse side with honey Dijon mustard on a cutting board or piece of plastic wrap.
- Top with sliced mozzarella cheese slices.
- In a small bowl, toss kale, lemon juice, salt and pepper and place on top of each pita over Mozzarella.
- Top one pita with both pieces of grilled chicken.
- Drizzle Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote over the chicken.
- Layer on the sliced strawberries, apples and top with cheddar cheese slices.
- Top the sandwich with other piece of pita bread (butter side up) and place in preheated grill pan.
- Smash the sandwich together with a heavy spatula or panini press and grill on both sides until cheese is melted and pita is crispy.
- Cut in half and serve with additional Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote and Honey Dijon for dipping.
- Makes one sandwich.
- Note: you can make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also double the recipe to make more for other uses (great over vanilla ice cream, pancakes, whipped cream or greek yogurt and granola!!)