Friday, March 25, 2011

breakfast of champions

You know how you buy an ingredient for a recipe, use the tiniest scoop, then have the majority of it left to deal with?  How sometimes those things go bad before you can find a use for them?  With the recipe I found, a leftover container of mascarpone is not a problem. 

strawberry mascarpone grilled cheese

 This sandwich was inspired by a recipe for a mascarpone and Nutella grilled cheese topped with strawberries, but if I bought a jar of Nutella, I'd be in the same mess all over again.  And as good as Nutella is, I didn't want it around to chocolify every breakfast.  So, I cut the Nutella and put the strawberries inside the sandwich.  Also, the recipe called for brioche, which I couldn't find at my local grocery store, so I went with challah.  I was pleasantly surprised that the challah I got happened to be orange-flavored.  That meant the bread was the sweetest part of the sandwich, with the cheese mild and creamy and the strawberries a welcome tartness.

Tomorrow, I might put bananas with the strawberries.  Or maybe I could top the strawberries with some fresh basil and make a sweet, syrupy balsamic reduction to dip the sandwich in.  I was just telling my friend that my incredibly technical grad courses this semester are killing my creative brain.  I hope today a little of that brain came back!

In my tweens, I developed a fail-proof system for making grilled cheese (since that was basically all I could cook).  Butter both pieces of bread, then place them buttered sides together on the cutting board, so as not to get butter everywhere.  Ingenious, right?  I thought so.  Anyway, then put your cheese and whatever else on top of the bread stack you made, then when you're ready to cook them, separate the buttered pieces and assemble the sandwich in the pan.  This worked well for me today, since I could add one more smear of mascarpone to the top piece of bread before closing the sandwich.

Strawberry Mascarpone Grilled Cheese
adapted from Sweet & Saucy (be forewarned--the blog plays music)

4 slices brioche or challah bread
2 tbsp butter
2-4 tbsp mascarpone, as much as your heart desires
6 strawberries, rinsed and sliced

Butter one side of each slice of bread.  Then smear 1-2 tbsp mascarpone on the other side of each slice.  Place strawberry slices, overlapping, on top of mascarpone.

Heat cast iron skillet to medium heat.  Cook sandwiches until browned on each side.  Attend to the pan carefully, since these went from golden to black for me very quickly.  Also, turn with care since the mascarpone doesn't really stick the slices together like a slice of American cheese would.

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