Dinner has been the bane of my existance since I gave up my college meal plan sophomore year (which, looking back, why did I give that up so early?! Unlimited food made hot--and at my college probably Kosher too--every night? hindsight, man). Cooking has remained a mystery to me due to the fact that it always requires grocery shopping and planning and prepping ingredients, and all of that is just too complicated for me. Baking, to me at least, requires so much less thought and prep. With baking you really just need butter, cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, flour, and some vanilla extract and you can make at least 100 different recipes. Not to mention, with the exception of eggs and butter all of the ingredients have a super-long shelf life so you can be a little more spontaneous. Whenever I find something I want to cook I always need to go to the store and buy 5 different spices I'll never use again, a package of thyme that I only need 1 sprig of, and something weird like walnut oil that probably costs like 11 dollars at Whole Foods. And it makes way too much for 1-2 people. Over the years I have tried various ways to make myself cook more, from crockpotting, to buying one of those immersion blenders and making vats of soup to take to work the next day (Kel, you remember this one right?), to trying one of those free blue apron trials. Nothing has stuck so far, and I always revert back to my grazing ways of a bowl of cereal there, some cheese and crackers there, peanut butter on a roll here. I'm not proud of it, I'm probably anemic, but that's the day to day. Anyways, this is all just to say that I'm not a cook and I probably won't ever be and I think that's ok, because at the very least I can make this fancy grilled cheese if need be.
The story of this sandwich is that I found myself in Snowmass, CO last week for a research meeting and ordered lunch from the hotel restaurant, which ordinarily I have a pretty low bar for--hotel restaurants tend to be on the overpriced/underwhelming side. Boy was I pleasantly surprised though when I ordered the hazelnut/apple/truffle grilled cheese--it was absolutely incredible and I was determined to make it at home!
Truffle Grilled Cheese with Peach, Apple, and Almond Butter
- 2 slices hearty french bread
- 1/4 of a green apple
- several slices of truffle cheese--I used brie but I've tasted a GREAT one from TJ's too
- 1 tablespoon peach preserves
- 1 tablespoon almond butter--the one at the restaurant used hazelnut butter which I wanted to try but couldn't find it, and I was too lazy to make my own hazelnut butter but if you are plucky enough to try it I would, because hazelnuts are bomb.
- butter for coating each slice of bread for grilling
Assembly is so easy I feel dumb even typing it...but here it is anyways: spread butter on both sides of bread. On the inside of one slice spread the preserves and on the other slice spread the hazelnut butter. THINLY slice the apples and layer on top of the hazelnut butter. Add the cheese on top of the peach butter slice (I used brie and it was not super spreadable but just do your best). Assemble with butter sides up and place on a pan on medium heat. Toast each side until lightly brown, about 2.5-3 mins. Serve immediately.
This is the Occam's razor of grilled cheeses--you have the brie cheese which is salty and melty, the truffles add some savory and the apples give it crunch and a little tartness. Meanwhile the peach preserves add enough sweetness so that you aren't reaching for the hidden bag of chocolate chips in the back of the cupboard right after dinner, and the almond butter is a nod to the PB&J from the good ole days; it sticks to the roof of your mouth in all the right ways. It's dinner for people who hate making dinner--no need to make a side dish, we're taking baby steps here.