Super Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Usually, the kitchen is loud….or should I say “lively” – the boys are running through with their Nerf guns, old-school Madonna playing on Pandora, me singing, “borderline….feels like I’m going to lose my mind…you just keep on pushing my love….” and Coco at my feet, waiting for me to drop a morsel of food as I fling my arms trying to dance my Madonna.

Yeah, that’s usually the scene.

Last week, I was alone in the house during the day – the kids were at school and Scott was in New York to be with his very ill dad – my kitchen was very quiet. I liked it that way, I had forgotten how the sounds of cooking can be soothing.

the “pop” as my sharp knife breaks and pierces the skin of a taut, ripe tomato.

chorus of scratching as I grate parmesan cheese.

gentle tzzzzssssss of bubbling butter in a pan.

if you can hear with your eyes, the sucking and drawing up of hot melted butter into the spongy pores of the bread.

fllllueeaappp as the face of the sandwich falls back on the pan after you flip it.

zzzahhhhhhhh as grated parmesan relaxes, melts and spreads out.

(smile) thanks for listening….

This recipe is from my friend, Michael Natkin, who happens to have one of the most happy smiles I’ve ever encountered. Michael runs Herbivoracious blog, which is all about vegetarian recipes. His very first book is just out – Herbivoracious and I’m so giddy proud of him.

Of all the recipes, I chose Super Frico – only because after seeing that recipe name, I couldn’t stop singing, “She’s a super frico, super frico. She’s super-frico, yow”

Come on! Be a dork and sing with me!

That sandwich is pretty kinky
It’s a super frico
The kind of lunch you read about
In foodie magazines

That cheese is pretty wild now
It’s a super frico
I really love to taste it
Every time we meet
She’s all right, she’s all right
That sandwich all right with me, yeah

Super Frico, baby

Make your standard grilled cheese sandwich (I like adding tomato to mine)

Remove the sandwich and sprinkle in your grated parmesan cheese, roughly in the same size as the sandwich.

Once it gets a little bubbly and melty, put your grilled cheese on top.

Press with a ginormous spatula to weld the cheese to the sandwich.

Lovely.

Yum

SuperFrico Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

Servings: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Recipe from Herbivoracious Cookbook by Michael Natkin. Michael says, "Everyone knows the best part of a grilled cheese sandwich (not to mention lasagna, gratin, mac & cheese, ...) are the bits where the cheese gets brown and crispy. So one night I said to myself, why can't there be more crispy? What happens if I just make a frico (cheese crisp) right there in the skillet and weld it to my already delicious grilled cheese? Would this not be a fine extension of an already superb late-night supper?

The answer was a resounding yes, so much so that I don’t make grilled cheese any other way now. It only takes a minute or two more than the standard sandwich, but the extra dimension of texture takes it to a whole new level."

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices bread
2 slices provolone cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
2 slices tomato
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (use large holes of box grater)

Directions:

1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat with the butter. When the butter is melted. Lightly moisten both pieces of bread in the butter. Top one slice of bread with the provolone and tomato and cover with the other slice of bread. Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping a couple of times.

2. When the basic grilled cheese is done, remove it from the pan. Turn the heat to medium. If the pan seems very dry, melt a touch more butter in it. Sprinkle the Parmigiano in the still-hot skillet, in a shape roughly the same as the sandwich.

3. Now watch closely, as the cheese melts. You'll see the fat start to cook out and the cheese begin to brown and crisp. When it has just begun to brown, put the sandwich back on top and press down with a large spatula to weld the frico to the bread. Let cook for one more minute then serve.

Stuff from the store

Need a cheese grater? I love this one.

I’m a big fan of fat spatulas…this one is nonstick.

Best Parmegiano Reggiano – big love for Whole Foods, the only company I know who has “crack parties