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!
(Makes 1 sandwich)
Baguette, halved and grilled
3-4 strawberries, sliced
¼ lb gruyere, thinly sliced
Few leaves of basil
- Allow 2 tbsp butter to come to room temperature. When soft, chop some basil and mix it into the butter.
- Halve your bread of choice and grill lightly. If you don’t have a grill just toast it in the oven.
- 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.
- 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!