Holy crap, you guys.
Cancel your plans for the next few hours. You need to get to the grocery store RIGHT NOW and make this.
Carla and I were really excited to learn that April is National Grilled Cheese Month, because we have spent many hours bonding over grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m not exaggerating. The closest restaurant to the office building where we met is a grilled cheese restaurant called The Melt.
I had way too many ideas, so I narrowed it down to 3 options and put it to a Facebook poll. These were the options:
1. Brie, fig jam and arugula on French bread.
2. Mozzarella and ricotta on Italian bread with garlic/herb butter and tomato-basil soup.
3. Gruyere, caramelized onions and thyme on garlic-rubbed French bread.
I thought for sure that #2 or #3 would win, but the response was overwhelmingly in favor of #1. And wow, am I glad my Facebook friends talked me into it. I’ve mentioned before that I usually lean more toward savory than sweet, so THANK YOU for making me change it up!
To be honest, the arugula is not necessary. It adds a nice peppery bite, and I would use it if I wanted to convince myself that this would make an appropriate lunch sandwich. But if you don’t care about “adult things” like eating vegetables, then you’re not missing much by leaving it out.
Brie is fantastic when warm. It’s creamy and melty and just a little bit earthy. Add sweet fig jam, crunchy toasted bread, nutty browned butter…and wow. It’s tastebud overload in a really, really good way.
Brie and Fig Brown-Butter Grilled Cheese
A wedge of your favorite Brie (spreads best at room temperature, so let it sit out for a little while if you have that kind of self-control)
Crusty French or Italian bread, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons butter (don’t skimp on the butter if you think you need more. Come on, you’re already eating Brie so you may as well go all-out at this point…!)
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Let the butter brown on medium heat (but be careful not to let it burn!).
I strongly believe in toasting both sides of the bread, but you can skip this step if you don’t share that philosophy: put all of your bread slices in the pan and coat one side with the butter. Let them toast in the pan until golden brown.
Remove the bread and smear half of them with brie (on the toasted side). Smear the other slices with fig jam (on the toasted side). Add the arugula, if using. Pair up the flavors to turn them into sandwiches.
Brown the other tablespoon of butter in the pan. Toast the sandwiches on each side, making sure you coat them with butter so that they brown evenly.
Warning: eat this in a place where you don’t mind if other people hear you moan. It’s that good.
I had so much fun making this that I think I’m just going to try all of the options I put up on Facebook! I’ll be sure to post the results if any of them are worth your time…