– Yes, I’m a fan of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches –
A few weeks ago I had lunch at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, a classic but innovative new luncherie in San Francisco. I wrote about my experience over at Bay Area Bites, and ever since that day, I’ve had a lingering dream about the lovely grilled cheese sandwich I ate that day: the Butternut Buster, a rich, sweet combination of gruyere, fontina, prosciutto, sage butter, caramelized onions, and butternut squash. Yes, you read that correctly.
Doesn’t that sound like the most gourmet, incredibly decadent sandwich ever? Here’s my description of the experience from my review post:
Before me sat a sandwich that must have measured 4-inches thick. Between the thick, moist slices of toasted levain bread were layer upon layer of fresh sage butter, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, tender prosciutto, and some of the most gooshy, melty gruyere and fontina cheese I’ve ever eaten. I dove into the sandwich like a dinosaur eating a caveman, and before long I was covered in cheese, meat, and breadcrumbs. I swear, I don’t think I took a breath through the first half of my lunch. For that two minutes, my life was nothing but a lambada of flavor, texture, and aroma.
Nate Pollak, the owner of American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, was kind enough to share his gourmet grilled cheese recipe for the Butternut Buster, and he was DOUBLY nice to allow me to share it with you all, here on my blog. So, make this amazing sandwich as soon as you possibly can, and then get your butt down to the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco. And be sure to ask for your sandwich on gluten-free bread, which they make in-house. It’s incredible.
- For the sage butter:
- 1/2 pound salted butter
- 5 large, fresh sage leaves
- For the caramelized onions:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the roasted butternut squash:
- 1 butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Sandwich assembly and cooking
- 4 tablespoons sage butter (see recipe below)
- 4 slices of thick country bread
- 6 tablespoons caramelized onions (see recipe below)
- 6 tablespoons gruyere cheese
- 10 thin slices prosciutto
- 6 slices of roasted butternut squash (see recipe below)
- 6 tablespoons fontina cheese (preferably a stinky Italian fontina)
- To Make Sage Butter: Cream the salted butter with a stand mixer or electric hand beater.
- Pluck leaves off sage sprigs and chop them coarsely.
- Add chopped leaves to butter and mix until evenly distributed.
- To Make Caramelized Onions: Coat a skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil, add the diced onions and salt, and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until onions are fully caramelized (dark brown color, sweet smell/taste, no more liquid in the pan).
- Remove onions from heat and set aside.
- To Make Roasted Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Peel the skin off the squash and slice the squash into thin rounds (so you get thin squash “disks”).
- Spread the squash slices onto a baking sheet with a sheet liner coated in a non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle oil over the squash and sprinkle a few pinches of salt.
- Bake the squash for about 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. Bake until the slices are soft and darken in color to a rich orange.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- Sandwich Assembly and Cooking: Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).
- Spread a thin layer of sage butter on the outer side of each of the slices of bread. Lay the bread butter-side down on a cookie surface.
- Spread a thin layer of caramelized onions on the inside of one of the slices of bread. Follow with a layer of gruyere, a thin layer of prosciutto, 3 slices of roasted squash slices, and a layer of fontina cheese.
- Place the other piece of buttered bread (butter-side out) on top of the layer of fontina.
- Place the sandwich on a baking sheet and slide into oven. Cook for 1 minute, until top slice of bread is toasted and golden-brown. Remove the sandwich from the oven, flip it over, and bake again until the new top slice of bread is also golden-brown and all cheese is fully melted.
- Remove from oven.