The heat waves of the last couple of weeks have put me in a bit of a cooking coma. The last thing I’ve wanted to do in the 40°C heat of an apartment without air-conditioning is boil water or broil meat. So, my diet over the past while has consisted mostly of salads. It goes something like this: arugula, walnuts, goat’s cheese; mâche, pumpkin seeds, goat’s cheese; arugula, walnuts, cucumber, goat’s cheese. You get the picture. Snore.
It’s true that salads don’t need to be this monotonous. They really don’t. But being creative in the kitchen sometimes requires certain conditions. And humid heat is not amongst them. When you’re reclining on your couch in front of a rotating fan, in your bathing suit, in the dark, your mind is not usually dreaming up inspiring salad recipes. Rather, it ponders inanities such as, “How long will it take to fill the bathtub with ice cubes?” or “What are my chances of breaking into the city pool without getting arrested?”
As the weather seems to have dipped into cooler territory – at least for the next few days – I’ve gravitated toward things with a bit more substance. And nothing says “substance” like a good ol’ sloppy grilled cheese, particularly one that is bursting at the sides with not one, but two types of fromage. The following is my antidote to the light and breezy summertime salad. Because, let’s face it – salads are wonderful, but every once and a while it’s nice to cradle something hot and gooey in one’s hands.
And this, dear readers, is that something.
Summer Grilled Cheese
makes 1 sandwich
2 slices wholegrain or sourdough bread
2 tbsp Herb Pesto (see recipe below)
2 slices aged cheddar
2 tablespoons goat’s cheese, crumbled
1/2 avocado, sliced (or mashed)
a few leaves of baby spinach
Spread about 1 tablespoon of the Herb Pesto (see recipe below) onto each slice of bread. On one slice of bread, layer: 1 slice of cheddar, avocado, goat cheese, spinach, second slice of cheddar. Top with second slice of bread and press together gently.
Heat approx. 1 tsp. olive oil in a frying pan with a small knob of butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, place the sandwich in the pan and cook until golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip it over and cook the other side until it is golden brown.*
(*I can’t believe I just told you how to make a grilled cheese. You’ve probably been making them since you were old enough to man the stove.)
1 clove garlic, smashed
1-2 anchovy fillets (packed in oil) – omit for vegetarian option
handful of spinach
handful of fresh Italian parsley
handful of fresh basil
handful of chopped chives
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse garlic and anchovy in food processor until chopped. With the food processor running, add lemon juice, parsley, spinach and chives. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until it reaches the consistency of a pesto. Add more oil if you feel it needs it. Season with salt and pepper.