Friday, April 26, 2013

Vintage Cheddar + Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich on "Toad in the Hole" Bread, Fried in Herbed Compound Butter

Vintage Cheddar + Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich on
"Toad in the Hole" Bread, Fried in Herbed Compound Butter
So, rumor on the street is that April is "National Grilled Cheese Month". Okay, so maybe it's not a rumor, more like a scientific foodie fact. But, how did I not know this? Piece, Love, & Cooking is a blog that firmly believes in integrating sandwiches + grilled cheese into daily life. Yep, it's a serious commitment. This body over here, was built by grilled cheese, y'all. On another note, I had every intention of sharing my recipe for my over-the-top s'mores layer cake (like I promised)... but then, I made this uh-may-zingggg grilled cheese today and couldn't wait another minute, I just had to post it. My stance on melted, gooey, fried sandwiches is pretty simple. They all rock. I don't discriminate. I absolutely love crazy flavor combinations with sweet & savory ingredients, but I also adore a classic, perfectly executed grilled cheese with the best products you can buy. Fresh baked bread, thickly sliced, and fried in butter until crispy can't be wrong in my world. But then when you top it with tangy aged cheddar, nutty Parmesan cheese, & melty gruyere, well it can't be beat. As a kid, I lived off a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup on the side. It's a classic pairing that will never fade... kinda like PB&J's and Snooki & JWoww (too far?). So, I just knew I had to have a tomato element included... I started off with slow roasted tomatoes, and then finally arrived at the idea of making a homemade slow roasted heirloom tomato jam. This jam is the jam (too tacky?). But fo'reals, it is. It's chunky, like a marmalade, but smooth as can be, and utterly sweet & savory. This would be amazeballz on a burger, BLT, or a chicken parmesan sandwich (boom). My dreams are made of this jam... I would swim in a pool of it... slight exaggeration, but mostly true. What brings this grilled cheese over the top is the bread and how it's prepared. Did any of y'all love "toad in the hole" or "egg in the hole" when you were younger? I did, a whole lot. It's crispy bread, that is utterly buttery, with a runny egg oozing out of the middle (sign. me. up. stat). This makes it a perfect candidate for the bread component of a grilled cheese. And man, it was. Between the herbed butter, crispy bread, runny egg, sweet tomato jam, and three kinds o' cheese, there really isn't anything that can go wrong. Well, okay, maybe just one thing. You have to have everything ready before you start the cooking process. Get your Mise en Place ready (aka all of your components set up, so that it all runs smoothly). Seriously, Mise the heck outta y'alls Place (it can get more southern than that). Got it or do I gotta get all gangsta on you? No. Okay. GREAT. GRAND. WONDERFUL (<--all describing the grilled cheese, no worries)!! Enjoy :)
See? "Mise the heck outta y'alls Place". 
Crack that egg in the hole... 
Fry it up in some herbed compound butter... 
Cut the grilled cheese on the diagonal...
Watch that runny egg yolk ooze out...
And devour... immediately :)
For the Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam:
2 Dry Pints of Rainbow Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, For Drizzling
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper, For Sprinkling
¼C Sweet Onions, Minced or Finely Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
¼C Red Wine Vinegar
¼C Chicken Stock or Water
¼C Sugar
1-2T Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Generous Pinch of Coriander, Ground Ginger, & Saffron
¼t Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Buttered Cheese Spread:
¼C Vintage White Cheddar, Shredded (get the best cheddar you can find)
2T Gruyere Cheese, Shredded
1T Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
2T Unsalted Butter, Extremely Soft

For the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches:
Herbed Compound Butter or Unsalted Butter, Extremely Soft (has to be easily spreadable)
Sourdough Bread, Center Removed with a Cookie Cutter
Fresh Eggs (preferably a smaller egg, but just make sure it’s not extra large or jumbo)
Prepared Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam
Vintage or Aged White Cheddar, Shredded
Fleur de Sel & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomato Jam: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat. Place the sliced tomatoes onto the prepared tray and drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add on the sprigs of rosemary. Roast the tomatoes for 3-4 hours or until the juices have reduced and the tomatoes have shriveled. Combine all the ingredients, along with your slow roasted tomatoes, in a pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer, stirring often until the tomatoes have dissolved and the jam is thick & glossy, about 15-20 minutes (making sure to mash up the tomatoes to a smoother consistency). Season it with salt & pepper to taste. Set it aside or refrigerate until ready to serve on the sandwich.
2. For the Buttered Cheese Spread: In a small bowl, mix together the shredded cheddar, shredded gruyere, grated parmesan, softened butter, salt, and pepper. Mix together until everything is completely incorporated and smooth. This should be enough for one really cheesy grilled cheese or two regular grilled cheese sandwiches (so if you are making more than 1 or 2, then you need to double the amount).
3. Prepping the Grilled Cheese: Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Place a fine strainer over a custard cup, small ramekin or bowl. Crack one egg into it and let the egg sit, undisturbed, for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the strainer (with the egg still in it) and pour out any accumulated thin white from the cup. Carefully tip the egg into the cup. Repeat with the other eggs and another cup if making more than one grilled cheese (if you have two small strainers, you can do the two eggs simultaneously). Using a cookie cutter (any shape will do, but I liked a medium sized heart shaped cookie cutter), cut a hole from the center of one slice of sourdough bread. With another slice of bread (uncut), spread one side with some herbed butter, flip it over, and begin layering the sandwich. Smooth out a thick layer of the buttered cheese spread followed by a smear of homemade tomato jam and more grated cheddar cheese, while making sure to season each layer with some salt & pepper. Set this slice to the side while you begin frying the egg filled bread first.
4. Cooking the Grilled Cheese: Spread one side of the cut bread with some softened, herbed compound butter and place it buttered side down and fry the bread lightly for about 1 minute. After the initial cook time, drop a small amount of butter into the hole, let it foam slightly, and gently slip the egg into it. Season the egg with some salt & freshly cracked pepper. Cook the egg until it is lightly golden brown about 1-2 minutes. Flip the egg bread and cook for another minute. Gently remove this slice from the skillet and place onto a cutting board while you cook the other prepared slice. Increase the heat of the pan to medium-high heat and fry the other piece of bread (buttered side down) for 3-5 minutes, making sure that all of the cheese has melted and the filling is hot. Gently invert the rested "egg in the hole" bread on top of the bread with the melted cheese. Carefully press the sandwich together to ensure everything has adhered to each other. Continue cooking until the sandwich is well browned about a minute or so until it is perfectly crispy & melted.
5. Sprinkle the sandwich with some minced fresh herbs, cut in half, and enjoy immediately!!


  1. Hi, Juliana! So happy to meet a fellow Savannah-nian blogger! Yeah! Let's do coffee/tea or lunch sometime!! I work at Indep Pres Church every Wed and we serve lunch. Please drop by sometime! You can email me So great to connect with you. :)

  2. Look so yummy! I have to try this.