Frico-crusted Grilled Cheese with Arugula Pesto

By • April 3, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: As if grilled cheese needed to be more indulgent, I borrowed a trick I first encountered in a salad to up the ante. Frico, little Parmesan tuile-like crisps, came atop an insalata tricolore of arugula, endive and radicchio I had as a light lunch out shopping with my mother. Here, I've crusted an Italian-inspired fontina and arugula pesto grilled cheese with it. Enjoy!Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus

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Serves 2

Arugula Walnut Pesto

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cups arugula (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of half the lemon
  • 1/3-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Place the garlic through lemon zest and juice in a food processor and pulse to a grainy homogenous consistency. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto takes on a creamy consistency and falls away from the sides of the processor bowl. Stir in the Parmesan by hand. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sandwich assembly

  • 4 1/2 inch thick slices of Pugliese or other Italian-style bread
  • 1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Arugula Walnut Pesto, plus more for dipping
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place 1/3 cup of Parmesan in a thin layer, roughly the shape of your sandwich bread and let cook until melted, bubbly, and just starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Place a slice of bread atop the melted Parmesan, pressing down slightly, and build the grilled cheese in the skillet: place 2 slices of fontina atop the bread and spread with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Top with a 2nd slice of bread. Cook about an additional 3 minutes before turning out of the skillet (you need to melt more Parmesan before flipping to cook the other side of the sandwich). Repeat the Parmesan melting with another 1/3 cup of cheese in the skillet. Once slightly brown, place the sandwich back in the skillet to cook the other side atop the Parmesan, another 3 minutes or so. Weighing down the sandwich with a heavy cast iron skillet will promote even cooking, browning and melting, and is recommended if you have the equipment.
  3. If you have a large enough non-stick skillet, you can make 2 sandwiches at once. If not (like me), repeat the process to make a second sandwich while keeping the first warm on a baking sheet in a 200F oven. Enjoy!

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