Strawberry and Basil Grilled Cheese

by BiteSizedJessica on June 29, 2011

In my house growing up, there were a few food staples that we ate on a regular basis. Like every kid, I assumed that my family was ‘normal’ and that if we did it, so did everyone else. It was not until much later in life that I learned that some of my favorite childhood snacks were not only uncommon, but considered weird by many.

One of my favorite of these snacks was my regular breakfast before school. My dad would make me a toasted English muffin with jam and cheese. Usually it was strawberry or raspberry jam with American cheese. Sometimes it was black raspberry jam with cheddar or Swiss. But to this day, that is my go-to snack if I am not feeling well and need something comforting to eat.

The other day I bought a gloriously juicy, sweet pint of wild strawberries from the farmer’s market and brought them to work.  I was making a truffled potato gratin for a special party that day, and the nutty, salty gruyere and pint of strawberries in my lowboy made me crave a jam and cheese sandwich. The idea for this bite materialized pretty organically, since I had some fresh basil sitting on my station, the fresh rolls from Amy’s Bread had just been delivered to the restaurant, and the grill was already set up on my flattop from earlier that day.

To make this grilled cheese even more special, I chopped some fresh basil and mixed it into room temperature butter which I spread on the grilled bread before layering on the cheese and strawberries. Frying the basil leaves gave the grilled cheese an extra crunch and richness. This little sandwich was an incredible summer snack I highly recommend. Jam and cheese doesn’t sound so weird anymore!

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 1 sandwich)

Baguette, halved and grilled
3-4 strawberries, sliced
¼ lb gruyere, thinly sliced
Few leaves of basil
Butter
Hot grill

Process:

    1. Allow 2 tbsp butter to come to room temperature. When soft, chop some basil and mix it into the butter.
    2. Halve your bread of choice and grill lightly. If you don’t have a grill just toast it in the oven.
    3. Spread basil butter onto toasted baguette. Layer with cheese and strawberries. You can use fresh basil, or fry some in an inch of hot oil.
    4. Place your open-faced sandwich on the grill and close the lid to melt the cheese. Eat immediately.

We didn’t post last week and are sorry to have been gone without explanation. We made this sandwich at Fire Island, intending to post it last Wednesday. Later that day, Jonathan and I got engaged. We are so excited to share the news with you all and want to thank our friends and family for all your love and support. We love you guys!

© 2011 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen June 29, 2011 at 12:18 am

Congratulations to you both! I was reading through the post and thinking how yummy this sounded and then I got to the engagement and the food left my mind and I was left with a warm fuzzy feeling.

I think it’s great that you make this because it gives you comfort from the memories of when you were little with your father.

That said, I think the strawberries instead of jam makes it quite grown up and delicious.

Andrea June 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Congrats you two! I am so excited for both of you. Can’t wait to celebrate!!!

xoxo
Andrea

maura June 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

congrats jess and jon! this, like all of your others, looks delicious. here’s to a lifetime of happiness and bites. xo

Hungry June 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

How can you not want to marry a girl that can cook like that, nice work Jon

Natalie June 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Congratulations you two. You should definitely have this sandwich done up “bite-sized” for your wedding reception! Very yummy sounding. I will definitely have to try this!

CC11 June 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I also love jam and cheese, perfect combo of sweet and salty – never thought to try it out with fresh strawberries and basil though – yum!

Dora June 30, 2011 at 12:19 am

This sounds and looks so yummy!!! I love the combination of cheese and strawberries…and basil I love!!! Can’t wait to try this bite, will have to make it. Congratulations to you both!!!;)

Tammy June 30, 2011 at 8:13 am

What a great and gorgeous couple!!! Congratulations and wishing you only the best, always!!! Jessica, welcome to our family! I love you guys!

Dana June 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

Mmmmm…this one might just be simple enough for me to try to make it!

Lisa H. June 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Congratulations…

Marina {Yummy Mummy} July 1, 2011 at 12:08 am

this is absolutely BRILLIANT! Gorgeous and delicious!

BiteSizedJessica July 1, 2011 at 7:22 am

Thanks to all of you for your comments and congratulations! Hope you’ll all try out the sandwich this weekend.

Sameer July 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This post reeks of win.

Oui, Chef July 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Congratulations to you both, may you enjoy many years of love and great food together. From where I sit, you’re off to a perfect start with this delicious sounding treat…very nice. – S

BiteSizedJessica July 9, 2011 at 1:30 am

Thanks so much Steve! We’re so happy to share the news and glad to hear you liked the post.

Gus July 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Congrats on the engagement!

Website suggestion: a section for users to upload pics of our humble attempts at replication. Tonight’s hot summer afternoon Mets v Phillies meal – your grilled cheese and strawberries + brushetta.

BiteSizedJessica July 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

Gus, thanks so much for checking us out and I’m so happy you tried our sandwich! Especially for a Mets/Phils game. And thanks for the great suggestion!

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Thank you so much!

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