Fontina and sage grilled cheese. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles…)
Melted cheese on crisp bread -- is it any wonder grilled cheese sandwiches are one of our favorite comfort foods? For a slight twist on the classic, wedge some grated fontina cheese between slices of country white bread, the simple sandwich brushed with fresh sage-infused olive oil before grilling. The smooth, slightly-nutty cheese pairs well with fragrant herb, making for a sandwich that is perfect for dinner, or any time of the day.
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Fontina and sage grilled cheese
Total time: About 20 minutes, plus pressing time for the sandwiches
Servings: Makes 2 sandwiches
Note: Adapted from "The Zuni Cafe Cookbook" by Judy Rodgers.
3 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, plus a few drops for the pan
1 dozen fresh sage leaves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Fontina cheese, rind removed and coarsely grated
4 slices country white bread
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the olive oil, sage and pepper until warm to the touch. Turn off the heat and let it infuse while you assemble the sandwiches.
2. Place the cheese, divided evenly, on two slices of bread. Take care to bring the cheese all the way to the edge of the crust. Top each with a second slice of bread and press flat. Lay a heavy or weighted cutting board on top of the sandwiches for 10 to 20 minutes.
3. Use a pastry brush to spread the sage oil lightly on both sides of the sandwiches. Make sure you go all the way to the edges, and try to distribute the sage and pepper evenly over the bread.
4. Heat a cast-iron pan or griddle over low heat. Sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil, then rub it over the whole cooking surface with a paper towel. Add the sandwiches and cook, weighted with another heavy pan or a steak weight, until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Keep the heat low so that you don't burn the sage or pepper.
5. Remove the sandwich to a cutting board and cut it in half or in quarters. Serve immediately.
Each sandwich: 565 calories; 20 grams protein; 31 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 40 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 66 mg. cholesterol; 804 mg. sodium.