grilled goat cheese sandwiches with spicy apple chutney

march 1, 2013

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Childhood memory : grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.  Very likely this comfort meal was prepared with processed yellow cheese on white bread and canned condensed tomato soup.  Now that you are a grownup, officially, you may crave a more adult version of this perfect meal for a chilly winter’s day.

As an ideal partner for last week’s tomato orange soup, today’s grilled goat cheese sandwich with spicy homemade apple chutney is a quick and easy dinner or lunch, and merits a breakfast designation if enjoyed with fruit salad or a smoothie in place of tomato soup.

The accompanying chutney, like similar condiments (see green tomato chutney), may be made weeks in advance, keeping well in your fridge.  It is a welcome last minute boost for cheese spreads and fancy crackers when company arrives.

Our goat cheese comes from The Bonnyclabber Cheese Company at Sullivan’s Pond Farm.  Cheesemaker Rona Myers Sullivan is the author of the soon to be published “The Bonnyclabber Road”.   She is also hosting an informative session on the “Life of Cheese”, with tasty samples, at Little House Green Grocery on March 10 from 1 to 3 PM.DSCN1164 Sandy Bottom goat cheese is rolled in black pepper and comes attractively wrapped in a moistened corn husk.  If you are a goat cheese aficionado, a slice of Sandy Bottom will affirm your good taste.  If you are not entirely certain goat cheese suits your palate, consider yourself converted.  Creamy, tangy without a trace of sour, dense and even a little sweet; the black pepper coating on this cheese pairs well with the sweet chutney.

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There are many ways to prepare grilled cheese sandwiches.  Electric sandwich presses have been around for years (they are mentioned in my 1950s vintage Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook) and today’s cooks request and receive electric panini presses as gifts; hopefully they are put to good use and not languishing in the cupboard like so many kitchen gadgets (remember the hot dog cooker?)  Since I own nothing resembling a press, my weapon of choice is the skillet.  Recipes often call for the nonstick variety, but any sturdy skillet will do.  Butter is ideal for flavor, but it has a low smoke point with a tendency to burn quickly in the pan, imparting a dark and bitter crust on the bread.  I find that adding a smidgeon of canola or other neutral oil to the butter eliminates a  burnt exterior (still, watch very carefully!) without sacrificing taste.

I love my job.  Is it really work when you test recipes and reward your efforts with eating the results?  This sandwich has made it to the dinner table with tomato orange soup and a salad, and graced my breakfast table with rosy pink grapefruit and a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.  Just to make sure this recipe makes the grade, I may need to fire up the skillet for lunch this weekend.

grilled goat cheese sandwiches

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

serves two

ingredients

four slices bread (I used Udi’s gluten free white sandwich bread)
one generous tablespoon soft unsalted butter, plus more for buttering bread
canola oil
6 ounces best quality goat cheese ( I used Bonnyclabber Sandy Bottom)
4 tablespoons spicy apple chutney (recipe to follow), or your favorite chutney

directions

  1. Lightly butter the exteriors of the bread slices, leaving the interior surfaces dry.
  2. Place 3 ounces goat cheese on two interior slices and top each with 2 tablespoons chutney.
  3. Gently press the other interior surfaces against the chutney to make two sandwiches.
  4. Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add 1/2 tablespoon butter and about 1 generous teaspoon canola oil, and watch for when mixture just begins to sizzle.
  5. Add one sandwich and cook for about 2 minutes, watching carefully; flip sandwich and cook other  side.
  6. Wipe pan of any dark debris if necessary and repeat step 5 with remaining butter and oil.
  7. Serve immediately.

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spicy apple chutney

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes about 2 1/4 cups

ingredients

4 medium firm apples, about 1 pound 12 ounces, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar ( I like Bragg’s organic)
1 c cane sugar
2 T (about 1 oz) finely chopped candied ginger
scant 1/2 t each ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/8 t ground cloves
2 shakes or one tiny pinch cayenne pepper

directions

  1. In heavy nonreactive saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to full boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about one hour.
  3. After cooling, store in refrigerator up to several months.
  4. Cook’s note : a food processor is ideal for finely chopping the apple.

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2 thoughts on “grilled goat cheese sandwiches with spicy apple chutney

  1. Rachel

    I am surprised to see no specific apple types recommended, as the non-cooks like myself will wonder which ones would be better choices. Suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Michele Humlan Post author

      Great question, Rachel. The best apple for this recipe is a crisp variety,and instead of listing the many types available, I would advise to gently press the apple and if it gives or dimples, even a little, it’s likely to be mushy for eating and just okay for cooking. I like crisp ones for this chutney so you can enjoy a pleasant texture with your creamy goat cheese sandwiches.

      Reply

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