Thursday, September 5, 2013

Walnut, Apple and Honey Grilled Cheese

L'Shanah Tovah! The festival Rosh Hashanah—meaning "Head of the Year", or the Jewish New Year—is celebrated largely by eating symbolic foods which represent our hopes for the year to come. For example, we eat a round challah bread instead of a braided one to celebrate continuity and the circle of life, and pomegranate seeds in hope that our good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of a pomegranate.


And of course, we dip apples into honey to represent a sweet new year—the most widely followed tradition of all. This Walnut, Apple and Honey Grilled Cheese recipe ups the ante on our beloved custom. Apples and honey are great on their own, but why not incorporate them into a wholesome meal rather than a single snack? (All in the name of a prosperous and happy New Year. Done!)


I know I don't have to sell you on the amazing goodness of grilled cheese, but there are so many other ingredient combinations in this sandwich that propel it to a whole new level of yum. Gruyere cheese and apples are one of my favorite snacks, as the smooth, washed rind cheese balances out the tartness of the apple while also cutting it's sweetness.  This gustatory balancing act is carried over to the grilled cheese as well- a slight nuttiness of the cheese coupling with toasted walnuts, and a generous drizzle of honey adds a deliciously sweet finish to the pungent cheese—kept in check with thick slices of multi-grain bread.

This recipe originally called for any washed rind cheese, suggesting Taleggio, Fontina, or Reblochon; but I stuck with a good ol' cheddar and the result was absolutely delish. I loved how the grilled cheese felt "stuffed" with nutty, tart and honeyed sweetness: wholly satisfying in the present, yet forward thinking for the year to come too.

Walnut, Apple and Honey Grilled Cheese (from lifeovereasy)
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:
1/2  apple, such as gala, pink lady, or granny smith; thinly sliced
2 slices whole-grain, rustic bread
1/2 a round good quality washed rind cheese, like Taleggio, Fontina, Reblochon (or cheddar!)
2 tsps honey
2 tbsps toasted walnuts, chopped (toast in skillet pan before, after, or along with grilled cheese.)
dash of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Heat a medium-sized skillet pan over medium heat, and cover with a mist of olive-oil.
2. When pan is warm, add 1 slice of bread and layer on cheese. Cook for a few minutes, covered, until cheese just begins to melt. Add the other slice of bread on top, and flip, cooking until cheese is melted and bubbly and both sides of bread are toasted brown.
3. Remove grilled cheese from heat, and pull apart so the sandwich is open-faced.  Pick one half and layer on apple slices, the toasted walnuts, and drizzle with the honey. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Take the other piece of bread and top off the sandwich, making whole again. Cut in half, and serve immediately.

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