I have a sneaking suspicion I might be mildly lactose intolerant. Or may be developing an intolerance. Which would be tragic, because I’m pretty sure I exist to eat cheese.
And, in my opinion, there is no finer form in which to eat cheese than the grilled cheese sandwich.
Growing up, my family’s kitchen was not stocked with slices of American or cheddar cheese. The yellow stuff in the plastic envelope was not welcomed here. Instead we had lots and lots of fresh mozzarella. The grilled cheese sandwiches I remember from my childhood were already almost panini.
Which, already, is delicious. But…
By the time I was ten, the sandwiches I knew were missing something. The mozzarella was creamy and sweet. The bread was usually ciabatta and deliciously doughy. My dad had already started drizzling the sandwich with extra virgin olive oil (in addition to the butter) before putting it in the pan, which added another layer to the mix. But still, something was missing.
That something was salt.
When I was ten, I discovered the amazingness that is kalamata olives, and needed to put them on everything. Including my grilled cheese sandwich. The saltiness of the cured olives blended with the sweetness of the cheese to make the ultimate sandwich.
And the ultimate food craving.
Erica’s Grilled Cheese w/ Kalamata Olives:
2 slices of ciabatta bread
a couple slices of fresh mozzarella
a hefty spoonful of kalamata olive tapenade
extra virgin olive oil
- Butter two slices of bread. On the un-buttered side of one slice, spread the kalamata olive tapenade and layer on several slices of fresh mozzarella. Place the other slice of bread on top, butter side up.
- Lightly drizzle sandwich with extra virgin olive oil.
- Place in a heated pan over medium heat and toast until brown. Flip sandwich and toast until cheese is gooey and bread is brown. To make it extra crispy, use a grill weight or another pan to press down on the sandwich while it cooks.
- Cut sandwich in half, place on a plate, and enjoy.