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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: The easiest way to eat cheese for dinner, and to feel good about it.
Sometimes you want salad for dinner. Sometimes you want breakfast for dinner. And sometimes -- admittedly, most of the time -- you want cheese for dinner. You could make macaroni and cheese, cheese soufflé, or grilled cheese, or you could make something decidely easier (and just as delicious). Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese is as great as it sounds: crusty toast topped with a layer of bubbling, savory cheese.
Make your cheesy toast slightly more virtuous by adding a generous serving of broccolini to your plate. The greens get drizzled in a syrupy reduction of balsamic vinegar that begs to be sopped up with any extra bread. So what are you waiting for? Break out the cheese and make dinner.
1 pound rapini (broccolini)
Really good crusty bread of your choice
1 1/2 cups very sharp cheddar, shredded
Your kitchen is probably stocked with balsamic vinegar, sugar, butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, thyme, a small piece of onion, olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper. If not, add those to list, too.
1. Mix 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the mixture reduce by a half to a third, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, set a large pot of water to boil. When it’s boiling, add the washed rapini and blanch for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside.
3. Preheat the broiler, slice the bread into 4 pieces, and butter one side of each. Toast the bread in the broiler until brown.
4. Mix the cheese with 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1 pinch thyme, 1 teaspoon of finely minced onion, 1 egg yolk, and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
5. Set a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 peeled, whole garlic cloves. Cook the garlic for a minute or two, then add the blanched rapini and let it sear for another minute or two, tossing carefully. After 3 to 4 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. The rapini should be tender yet crunchy.
6. While the rapini cooks, spread the cheese mixture onto the bread and return the slices to the oven. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and brown. Grind fresh pepper over the top.
7. Transfer the rapini, garlic, and pepper to a serving platter and top with any oil remaining in the skillet. Drizzle generously with the reduced vinegar. Season with more salt and pepper, then eat alongside your ooey gooey toasted cheese.
Photos by James Ransom