Grilled cheese purists be warned! This version will entice your taste buds to switch it up. The tangy Green Nopal Habanero Pepper Pesto and tomato cut through the richness of the cheese perfectly.
Gold Star Grilled Cheese
Gold stars will surely be awarded to you when you serve this variety of the classic.
8 slices of your favorite firm bread (an Italian round or Dave’s Killer Bread are good choices)
8 teaspoon butter (or mayo)
9–10 oz. cheddar cheese shredded (about 2-1/2 cups shredded)
1 campari or roma tomato (8 thin slices)
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
1/3 cup EVOO
1–2 tablespoons Marie Sharp’s Green Habanero Pepper Sauce
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper
Substitute butter with mayo and spread on both sides of bread to create a crispy barrier not only on the outside, but also on the inside of your sandwich. Try this when toasting a hamburger or hotdog bun before you apply your regular condiments and toppings.
Combine walnuts and garlic in mini food processor and pulverize.
Add basil and pulse until thoroughly minced.
Slowly drizzle in EVOO then depending on your affinity to heat 1–2 tablespoons Marie Sharp’s Green Nopal Habanero Pepper Sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice tomato thinly and remove most pulp by patting slices between a paper towel so slices are fairly dry.
STEP 3 (Follow for each sandwich)
Spread both slices of bread with butter on both sides of each.
Grill one side of both slices on medium heat in skillet (preferably cast iron) until toasty crust forms (about 2 minutes).
Remove both slices from pan and scatter a layer of grated cheese on the toasty side of one of the slices.
Add two slices of tomato to the cheese then top with another layer of cheese so the tomato is encased.
Spread the walnut-basil pesto on the toasty side of the other piece of bread and place on top of its cheese and tomato topped mate to make a sandwich.
Return the sandwich to the pan with pesto coated half on the bottom and toast on medium for 3-4 minutes until golden brown (depending on the temperature of your stove, you may have to cook a bit longer, but the goal is to cook slowly and steadily to melt the cheese without over cooking the bread).
Flip and toast the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 more minute to get the cheese completely melted.
Remove from heat, plate and slice in half.