I have been creating and blogging all things grilled cheese sandwiches for over a year. Yes, I have taken a few weeks off here and there, but most of the time, when Sunday (or Monday) rolls around, I create a unique grilled cheese sandwich and then write about it. I have not repeated one sandwich. Until now. I cooked a “pizza sub” grilled cheese way back on March 25, 2009 and rated the sandwich a B+/A-. Not bad, right? Not at all, but recently I had a new idea for a pizza grilled cheese so I went with it.
Please, take a look back and let me know which one you would prefer, new or old or both. In my opinion, both have their place in anyone’s grilled cheese repertoire, but as you will see, I believe this sandwich to be superior.
- Quattro Formaggi
- Italian Loaf
the cheese: quattro formaggi (a mixture mozzerella, asiago, provolone, romano)
When you think of pizza, what cheese comes to mind? Mozzerella, yes? I used only mozzerella in my previous sandwich and for this new pizza grilled cheese sandwich I wanted to go a different route, so I went for a mix from my local market. I have used this mix previously in other recipes and I loved it then and love it now. I mean, who wouldn’t like a mix of mozzerella, asiago, provolone and romano cheeses? It is a great smooth mixture with just a hint of kick. If I weren’t trying to eat healthier these days, minus grilled cheese sandwiches of course, this mixture would be my lunch. If you can find a similar mix at your local market, I would definitely recommend giving a try either plain, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or some other random dish.
My original pizza sub is exactly what you would think of when trying to recreate a pizza in sandwich form. It was a pizza sub, one that was good but not exactly thinking out of the box. When I decided that I was going to go ahead and recreate this sandwich, I knew I had to think different(ly) in order to distinguish this sandwich from the other. I started with basil…
I almost did not include this fresh basil in the sandwich, but after smelling how awesome this herb smelled, there was no way I would leave it on the cutting board. Basil is a perfect addition to any pizza / pizza sandwich. It adds a great flavor that cannot be matched.
With this sandwich, I decided not to include a sauce, I only spread garlic olive oil over the bread, and instead simply included sliced tomatoes. Yum!
Once the main ingredients were decided on, tomatoes and basil, the next decision to be made was to how to prepare these ingredients. Grilling the tomatoes with salt and pepper was a no-brainer. However, I was thinking that I would simply place the raw basil on top of the cooked tomatoes in the sandwich. Doesn’t sound good, does it? The sous chef steered me the right way and told me to grill the basil with the tomatoes. As you cans see in the photos above, I followed the sous chef’s advice. It worked out perfectly.
The final decision to be made was the bread. A grilled cheese sandwich normally is a closed sandwich, with two slices of bread. A pizza does not have a top, just a bottom. (Unless of course you are eating a calzone, but we won’t go there.) In order to make this more pizza-like, while still being a grilled cheese sandwich, per the suggestion of the sous chef, I went open-faced. Tuna melts, which are delicious, are often made open faced, so why not a grilled cheese sandwich?
The Italian loaf that I chose, was very conducive to the open faced sandwich. Simply slice horizontal and there ya go, a top and a bottom to be used as the open faced pieces. Since I decided to go the non-traditional route of open faced, I did not grill this sandwich in a pan, it simply would have been too difficult. I baked this grilled cheese sandwich in the oven just like you would a pizza. I only took pictures on the grill pan as I like how the sandwiches look with the pan as the background.
When I started to eat this sandwich, I was disappointed. The taste was every thing I expected but nothing more. Then I realized I was being too hard on myself and should realize that the sandwich met my expectations. That is a good thing.
I continued to eat the open faced grilled cheese sandwich with a smile on my face, realizing I had just created an awesome sandwich. The flavors of the basil and tomatoes worked perfectly with the cheese mix. I was even lucky enough to include some shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, which was purchased by the sous chef and sous-chef’s husband at Whole Foods just a couple days ago.
If you are a fan of classic pizza with classic favors, I would suggest you try this very soon. I mean, who doesn’t like an open faced pizza grilled cheese sandwich?!
ingredients were purchased at…
- Miles Farmer’s Market (Tomatoes, Basil, Quattro Formaggi, Italian Loaf)