Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Fancy grilled cheese from Smitten Kitchen

Combat the cold with a sandwich—Emmentaler on rye with sweet-and-sour red onions—from New York food blogger Deb Perelman

Emmentaler on rye with sweet and sour red onions from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Emmentaler on rye with sweet and sour red onions from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Photograph: Deb Perelman

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What do you want to eat when you're in the middle of a long, snowy winter? Something unintimidating, comforting and delicious, like a gussied-up grilled cheese. This particular sandwich is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman, who has been blogging about the cooking adventures in her own cramped space on Smitten Kitchen since 2003. The recipe features a triple-whammy combo of sweet-and-tart onions, nutty Swiss cheese and hearty rye bread.

Emmentaler on rye with sweet-and-sour red onions from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 tsp brown sugar, light or dark
- 1/4 tsp table salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper 

- Four 1/2-inch-thick slices rye bread
- 2 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted, softened
- 3/4 cup grated Emmentaler or another Swiss cheese

1. Cook onions
Heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and salt, lower the heat to medium-low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar, and loosen any stuck onion bits at the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until the onion mixture thickens, and season to taste with black pepper. Cool to lukewarm, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until needed, up to 5 days. You should have just shy of 1/2 cup of cooked onions. 

2. Assemble the sandwiches
Generously butter one side of each slice of bread; these will be the outsides of your sandwiches. Arrange one slice, buttered side down, on a plate. Spread thickly with jammy onions (about 2 tablespoons per sandwich; you’ll have extra). Sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Arrange a second slice of bread on top of the cheese, buttered side facing up. Repeat with the remaining slices to make a second sandwich. 

3. Cook sandwiches
Heat a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, arrange your sandwiches in the pan, and cook them until crisp and deep golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. If you are making a larger batch and want to keep them warm and melty, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven. When ready to eat, slice the sandwiches in half. Don’t expect leftovers. 

Cooking note
I probably don’t have to tell you how fantastic this sandwich is with a thin slice of speck, prosciutto or even duck prosciutto.

Makes two sandwiches.

Excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Copyright (C) 2012 by Deb Perelman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)


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