Time for some weekend indulgence: a pretty epic lunch sandwich, mashing up a Grilled Cheese sandwich and French onion soup!
For this one, I was inspired by a picture of the French Onion Grilled Cheese I came across at foodnetwork.com. French onion soup typically has croutons and cheese stilling on top, so why not invert it and have some beautiful thyme-infused onions on the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich?! Furthermore, the recipe is by Jeff Mauro, presenter of their Emmy-nominated “The Sandwich King” show, so it figured that the recipe would be a slam dunk anyway. And it did…
After a quick rummage in the larder and fridge, it lead to my version of the recipe. I used a mix of grated Gruyère and Emmental cheeses, but either one (or a mix with Comté) would be glorious too. Furthermore, I used my own methodology to caramelize onions for French onion soup (no additives other than butter, thyme, and some freshly ground black pepper) and couldn’t be bothered to fully caramelize them as it usually brings a too intense sweetness to them; the key thing for this grilled cheese sandwich is that the onions are fully softened.
The Recipe (makes 4 sandwiches)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Gruyère cheese, 4 slices or approx. 2½ oz / 80g grated
- Emmental cheese, 4 slices or approx. 2½ oz / 80g grated
- 8 slices of sourdough bread
- 2 tbsp softened unsalted butter (to spread)
- Pre-heat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat and add the butter and olive oil.
- When the butter is starting to foam add the onions and give the pan a good toss to combine and spread the onions in an even layer and then lower the heat to medium.
- Add the thyme leaves and let the onions soften for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a tablespoon of water and stir to prevent the onions from sticking to the bottom. Take the pan off the heat and season with pepper.
- Butter one side of 4 of the slices of sourdough bread and set aside.
- Put the Gruyère on 1 piece of the unbuttered bread and add a good dollop of onions on top.
- Finish with the Emmental and top with the already buttered slice of bread (butter side up) and prepare the 3 other sandwiches.
- In the meantime, preheat another large heavy-bottomed pan or griddle pan on medium-high heat.
- To cook the sandwiches, place them in the (griddle)pan butter side down and cook for about 4-5 minutes. When in the pan, spread the remaining butter on the top slices of sourdough bread.
- Flip the sandwiches, cook until the cheeses are fully melted and the sandwiches are golden brown.