I promise that this time I am actually using real cheese. But this is not just any grilled cheese recipe (you know the kind I’m talking about, with the gross perfect-right-angle-so-orange-it-probably-doesn’t-even-need-to-be-refrigerated type singles that come in their own little plastic packages). This is a GOURMET grilled cheese recipe. You know why? Not only because it tastes way better, but because the bread demanded it. I didn’t just use any bread, I used fresh Ninth Street Bakery bread! If you haven’t heard of this local bakery based in downtown Durham, NC, you need to go check it out. They sell all types of organic breads, pastries, and other baked goods, using only the highest-quality ingredients. They have a spot at the Durham Farmers’ Market, too- I swear every time I walk by I get a waft of something different and delicious. They’re always handing out samples of some creative hand pie or blueberry turnover.
Since I was using NSB’s sourdough French (it was a hard decision between this and the sunflower loaf!), I wanted to make sure to do this sandwich right. I decided to slather each slice with pimiento cheese (not local, I confess. judge me.), top it with some spinach and crushed tomatoes (oooh those were local and from the farmers’ market too!), and some leftover mole chicken I had on hand. I decided to toast the buttered slices on the stovetop first, then fill them up, close them and finish in the oven. This way I was sure to get that nice, crispy top and bottom instead of having one side of the bread all soggy from not flipping it before baking!
Try it and let me know what new grilled cheese creations you come up with! Thanks again to Ninth Street Bakery for making it possible for me to share this gourmet sandwich with ya’ll!
- 1 loaf sourdough French bread (I used Ninth Street Bakery!)
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 12 oz container pimiento cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup leftover shredded chicken (I had some leftover mole chicken on hand that I wanted to use up!)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large nonstick skillet, add olive oil and tomatoes. Cook on medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Crush tomatoes against side of skillet so that they are no longer plump.
- Add spinach to skillet and remove from heat, stirring, until wilted. Set entire mixture aside.
- Microwave the butter in a shallow dish until melted.
- Dredge each slice of bread or use a spoon to drizzle butter over both sides of bread. Place each slice in skillet and cook on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes per side, or until nice and golden-brown. (Don’t worry if it’s not completely browned- we’ll finish them in the oven!)
- Continue above step with remaining slices. Remove from heat and set on a few large paper towels. (It’s helpful to keep the slices in the order they were placed in the loaf to match sizes later!)
- Line up the slices of bread in order on a large baking sheet. Spread pimiento cheese on each slice of bread.
- On half of the slices, layer spinach and tomato mixture on top of cheese, followed by the chicken. Sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes if you like a little more heat!
- Close the sandwich with its “partner” slice.
- Bake 4 minutes at 350 degrees, then flip and bake 4 minutes more.
- Allow to cool slightly, then slice on the diagonal.
- Serve with a side salad (like my Southwestern Quinoa Salad) and a fried egg!