At first when I came up with the idea of a French onion grilled cheese sandwich I thought I was being original. Turns out loads of people had though of it before me which suggests that this sandwich is a pretty good idea! I couldn’t believe how similar it tasted to the actual soup. The bread slices were the croutons, the melted gruyere and wine/beef stock braised onions all came together to fool my brain into thinking I was eating the real soup. The only thing difficult about this recipe is eating it because those onions are pretty slippery. I used potato bread which is what I had on hand but a nice crusty baguette would work nicely. The sandwich was so tasty and really easy to put together (except for the onions that kept slipping out). I look forward to having this again!
Eggplant has become a recent favorite food over the last 2 years. Before that I just never gave it a second thought. It’s an under rated vegetable and that might be due to the trickiness of cooking it. There’s acid in eggplant so it’s good to press some of the juice out to remove the bitterness. Grilling eggplant is one of the best ways to cook it just because it chars the eggplant and gives it a smokier flavor. I chose some roasted tomato slices to compliment the eggplant along with fresh mozzarella and olive tapenade. The roasted tomatoes were especially good because they are in between fresh and sun-dried. The tomato is concentrated like a sun-dried tomato but it remains just juicy enough to eat on a sandwich. It was so good! I really liked all the flavors together and I will definitely make this again.
Tapenade is a ground mixture of olives, capers, and garlic. The ingredients are mixed together with olive oil until they form a paste. I thought tapenade was an Italian food but it turns out it comes from southern France. Sometimes anchovy paste and herbs are added to it as well depending on the region. Usually it’s served on bread or eaten as a condiment but I thought it would be great on a sandwich. I really liked the flavors of the tapenade and it was even better on the Grilled Eggplant Panini.
French onion is a classic soup which I now consider to be one of my favorite soups. The recipe is fairly simple but it takes a fair amount of time and effort to create the perfect french onion soup. It consists of caramelized onions in a beef and red wine flavored broth topped with a slice of toasted bread and melted gruyere cheese. A delicious soup for cold, winter evenings! The key to making a good french onion is the length of time used to melt the onions. I like taking several hours to caramelize the onion until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and golden brown. The one challenge I discovered early on was chopping 8 lbs of onions–I was crying the whole time! Apparently there is an enzyme in onions that creates an acidic gas when cut and gets in the eyes. I was grateful that this soup turned out to be more than worth the tears and hours it took to create it.