April is National Grilled Cheese Month! Sunday Supper and Gallo Family Vineyards are helping us celebrate such an awesome month by providing you with 20....yes, I said TWENTY, recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches. Can you say (in your best soprano falsetto voice) ...heeeaven! When it comes to comfort food, I think grilled cheese sandwiches are right up there with mac and cheese. I have this sneaky suspicion that melted cheese is the main culprit.
Do you remember your first encounter with a warm, gooey grilled cheese? The first time you bit into that toasty, buttery bread and experience the melty goodness inside? I wonder how many of you are thinking about your lunch break at school and unwrapping a foiled sandwich, with the bread partly slid to the side. Those cafeteria assembly-line messes that somehow became a school lunch favorite, despite the fact that oftentimes part of the sandwich was hard, the cheese wasn't real, and they were barely warm. My point is, it's pretty hard to make a bad grilled cheese. Unless you burn it of course (been there, done that). Even then.....a little darkened bread is all good.
Grilled cheese is extremely popular across the world, in a variety of cultures and methods (i.e.: quesadilla, croque-monsieur) and has been around in some form or another since ancient times. The American version, which we're all so fond of, became popular in the 1920's, with the invention of processed cheese and its easy accessibility during WWII, and has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. The mold has been broken, creating a limitless variety. And boy does that make me one happy camper. Have you any idea how fun it is to play with flavor combos all melted together with cheese, in between two slices of toasty bread?
Aaaaand....pair it with wine? Ooooh yes.....this wine pairing is going beyond the sliced cheese laid elegantly on a charming platter or rustic board. Today we are all about the ooey, gooey, melty, chewy cheese. Grilled cheese gone rogue is where it's at.
Let me tell you a little about my version. If you've been following me for any amount of time, you will be a bit familiar with my love of Latin foods. I am blessed with the numerous ethnic markets in my area. One of the major pluses of living in Los Angeles. Having many friends who are from a Mexican or South American descent has also contributed greatly to my knowledge and appreciation of their food. Making a grilled cheese with a Latin flair came naturally to me. Longaniza became the focus, along with a number of complementary flavors.
Longaniza Grilled Cheese SandwichMakes 2 to 4 sandwiches, depending on the size of the bread used
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chipotle sauce
Olive oil for sauteing
1/2 lb. longaniza
10 oz. jalapeno quesadilla cheese, shredded
10 oz. oaxaca cheese, shredded (this is very similar to mozzarella)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 - 8 slices of sourdough bread
1 or 2 limes sliced into wedges
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and chipotle sauce and chill while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Remove the longaniza from its casing and cook in a medium sized skillet coated with olive oil over medium heat until browned. This is a bit hard to tell since its red in color to begin with. But, it will get a little darker as it's cooked.
In a small skillet, saute the onions until tender and just starting to brown.
Mix the shredded cheese together.
Brush one side of the bread with the chipotle mayo and place it face down onto a medium to medium low heated skillet or griddle, keeping in mind that the mayo will tend to burn a little quicker than butter.
Cover the slice of bread with some of the cheese mixture. Evenly sprinkle with some cooked longaniza, some sauteed onions and a couple of pinches of chopped cilantro. Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge over it all and top with more cheese.
Brush one side of another slice of bread with the chipotle mayo and place it face down over the last topping of cheese and brush the exposed top with even more chipotle mayo.
Cover with a lid for a few minutes to help all that cheese melt.
I used a comal to make my sandwiches and had to use a high domed lid for this purpose.
Once the bottom is good and brown, carefully flip it over and press with the back of your spatula. It took two spatulas for me to safely flip this bad boy over without losing the insides. One spatula on the bottom, and one on top, upside down so that when I flipped it, the spatula was facing the correct way, making it less awkward to remove.
Watch it carefully. It always seems that if it's going to burn, it's gonna happen on the second side. Once that's done...remove from the skillet, slice and serve. With wine of course.
I chose a nice Hearty Burgundy to enjoy with my Longaniza Grilled Cheese. It happens to be Gallo Family's original red blend. It's wonderful with bold and layered flavors. A perfect match for everything going on in my sandwich. It had a way of blending the flavors into a creamy richness. If you're more inclined to enjoy a sweeter, less dry wine, then I recommend the White Merlot which pairs nicely with spicy foods.
For more information about Gallo Family Vineyards and the wines they have to offer, visit their website. There, you will also find the store locator. I recommend that you follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for more ideas and updates.
Whichever wine you choose, you are bound to fall in love with this grilled cheese.
The bold and spicy flavors from the longaniza and chipotle mayonnaise, slightly offset by the sweet and tangy red onions, brightened up with the freshness from both the cilantro and lime juice. All of this enveloped by warm, melted cheese.
Don't forget to check out the other 19 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches as well as Gallo's Grilled Cheese Recipe blog post about today's cheesy goodness.
- Bacon Inverted Grilled Cheese by Brunch with Joy
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- Brie, Raspberry and Honey Grilled Cheese by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Egg Prosciutto Grilled Cheese by Magnolia Days
- French Onion Grilled Cheese by The Redhead Baker
- Garlicky Anaheim Pepper Grilled Cheese by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Gluten Free Kale Grilled Cheese by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Grilled Cheese with Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers by Ruffles & Truffles
- Grilled Havarti with Onion Jam by Nosh My Way
- Grilled Gruyère on Rye with Crisped Sage and Pink Lady Slices by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Loaded Sharp Cheddar and Black Forest Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Longaniza Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Peaceful Cooking
- Philly Cheesesteak Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Family Foodie
- Pizza Grilled Cheese by Alida's Kitchen
- Roasted Cauliflower, Ham and Brie Grilled Cheese by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Roasted Tomato Caprese Grilled Cheese by One Sweet Mess
- Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese by Life Tastes Good
- Tomato Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese by Feed Me, Seymour
- Tomato, Prosciutto and Gruyère Grilled Cheese by Casa de Crews
- Twenty Ways to Make Grilled Cheese plus Wine Pairings on the Sunday Supper Movement website
Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards