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Monday, April 26, 2010

Croute





This is simply the best grilled cheese on the face of the Earth.  Reblochon cheese triangles melted over sliced Vermont ham on a thick slice of rustic bread, with a bit of white wine.  No special recipe here; this is about the cheese.  Reblochon!

I never saw this, growing up in the Midwest.  There, cheese was American, wrapped in cellophane, either yellow or white.  Fancy cheese was American cheese that the butcher would thick-slice for you.  However, I was a grilled cheese snob even then.  When my neighbor had the unfortunate task of watching me for the afternoon, we would take a break from listening to classical music on 33RPM LPs, and she would make special grilled cheese sandwiches.  The secret was burning them in the butter, just a little.... not much of a secret, I know.  But it gave the sandwiches flavor.  Recently, there has been a lot of talk about browned butter.  I hate to tell the kids who have just discovered it but.... nothing new there.  Mrs. Graney had it mastered back when.

So I learned how to make Reblochon, which is like discovering the atom, when it comes to grilled cheese.  There is so much power there:  taste, aroma, texture, zing.... it has it all.




This cheese was ready today, and I think it's just about perfect.  Earthy aroma, slightly moist rind, with a touch of the white mold I applied frosting the orangey b.linens exterior.  The cultures have done their work, and have transformed a raw, white disk of curd into this golden, supple cheese.

Since Reblochon takes less than 60 days to ripen, it isn't imported, generally speaking.  So it's a good idea to make your own.  I can offer advice on that topic.

Time to make Croute!  

Get a nice wedge of Reblochon, some thick slices of rustic bread, ham, a bottle of white wine, and butter.



Dot a baking dish with butter, then sprinkle some white wine in the dish.  How much?  What's your mood?

Toast the bread, then place in the dish.  It will start absorbing the wine.  Top the slices with strips of warm ham,  then place a split wedge of Reblochon on top.  That's it!




Bake at 425F until golden and bubbly. 




Try to show some restraint while eating this.   It hits a lot of the food-pleasure receptors.




To vary the Croute, use diced tomatoes, or mushrooms, domestic or wild, sauteed or cooked in red wine.  You could do very fancy things with asparagus or endive, but that would take time away from eating Croute....

Mrs. Graney would be proud of me.





4 comments:

  1. awesome looking! I've always loved grilled
    cheese sandwiches and have made them since
    childhood. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmmm awesome looking! I just love grilled
    cheese sandwiches. Great pics!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've just found your blog and really enjoy reading your cheese posts!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That is seriously one of the wickedest grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever seen. And you make your own cheese- I envy you. Thank you, thank you.... (for making me drool)!

    ReplyDelete

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