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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Grilled" Cheese Sandwich, with Pesto and Tomato

A sandwich without meat is an unusual occurrence for me. The only situation that I can think of when I choose to eat them is when I'm in the middle of nowhere at some petrol station without a deli and only a few precariously close to their sell by date sandwiches in the fridge beside the calvita and suspicious looking pre packed ham, I tend to go for a "Ploughmans" sandwich or something similar without meat, egg or tuna as these tend to be the safest bet.

Now I was never a fan of pesto, it, along with a lot of other shit we got on fine without before, was snuck in about 6 or 7 years ago by the Celtic Tiger in his man bag and immediately I was suspicious of it. My first encounter of pesto was on a pre made sandwich I got while rushing to get the poxily long train from Dublin to Galway.. "Fuck it, it's on it anyway so I may as well try it" was my attitude. Now maybe it was the early morning, the hangover or the beer I was washing it down with (relax, I was on my way to a  Bob Dylan gig) but I was very unimpressed and decided it was something I could live without.

Roll on 2011, it's the middle of March and I'm 11 hours into an 8 hour flight from Dublin to New York, I'm very sick thanks to the man flu and had managed about 2 hours sleep in the previous 48. The flight is fucking torture thanks to the fact the plane is a leaking(yes water was dripping onto me from the window on the emergency door for the whole flight), slow, no tv, ball of shite. Add to that the fact that the only 10 minutes I managed to sleep during the whole flight was during dinner service, and as I had instructed Gary Wickham not to wake me for any reason, even if we're crashing, I had no dinner. Well I was starving. And then it happened. The pre-landing snack service. Pizza Slices. Thank you Lord. Gary being on the isle sees what type of pizza they are serving and sensing my reaction mildly panics. "Cheese Pizza with Pesto." Just fucking wonderful. Being in the epic state of hunger that I was wallowing in I didn't give a shite what it tasted like... But to my absolute surprise I loved it, "Hunger is great sauce" as the fella says.

Which brings me to today. A few vegetarian friends (I know, I know, but it's 2011 and we have to respect peoples decisions) had asked me to do a sandwich that would suit them and it's been in the back of my mind for a while, so last night rummaging through the net I found a couple of sandwich ideas that I could combine into this.

Before I go on, and I know I've been talking enough shite already without even showing you a picture of a measly slice of bread, I'd just like to say "Toasted Sandwich Machines are shit." I don't know what size bread they were designed for but I've never found a slice that fits one. And don't say the George Foreman grills are good for toasting sandwiches made with regular bread cos they're not. They squash them and all the cheese runs out.The solution is to turn to the American method; Fry the bastard. Not in the Texas Death Row kind of way, I mean the more literal way. Now the Yanks refer to fried cheese sandwiches as "Grilled Cheese", who knows why but they also call the grill a "broiler". I'm not even gonna try to figure them out.


So what you'll need is: 2 slices of white bread, butter one side of each making sure to use plenty of butter, giving them an even coat and not tearing the bread; ask a parent for help if you're not capable of doing this yourself.
Pesto; the green kind, 4 slices of tomato, some light in colour colour but mature in flavour cheddar cheese; I like the Kilmeaden in the purple pack, and some grated parmesan cheese.
Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat while you are preparing this.


When your pan is hot place one slice of bread, butter side down, on it and lay enough slices of cheese to cover it.


Spread a nice amount of pesto over the cheese (using a tea spoon is handiest) and place the tomatos on top.


Place the other slice of bread on top, butter side up. Keep an eye every 30 seconds or so on how the sandwich is cooking by lifting the corner of it with a spatula as it can cook very fast and this will not be nice if overdone. It'll take about 2 minutes a side.


Flip it over and it should look like this.


While the other side is cooking sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. I'm well aware that pesto contains parmesan cheese but it's no harm to add some more (I have no idea if this is true, it may well be harmful, consult a doctor or your local county counselor if you're concerned).


And it's done, a lovely tasty snack, suitable for vegetarians the world over... Just be careful as with any hot sandwich containing tomato, said tomato may be hotter than the surface of the Sun, but sure that only adds a little excitment to things.

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