Friday, July 29, 2011

Rosemary, Spinach & Brie Grilled Cheese with Gazpacho

This is one of the easiest yet most delightful dishes I have ever made. Remember, you're never too old for grilled cheese (or PB&J). You just have to make it a little fancier.

Here's my solution to soup and a sandwich for the summertime. The tomato base of the gazpacho goes great with the brie and spinach, and the fact that it's served chilled makes it perfect for summer refreshment.

Barefoot Contessa Original Recipe
Servings: 6-8
Time: 20 minutes (3+ hours to chill)

1 hothouse cucumber
1 red bell pepper
14 grape tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup red onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/5 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Finely chopped and ready for liquid
  1. Chop each of the veggies and then pulse separately in a food processor until finely chopped but not juicy. 
  2. Add all the veggies together in a NON-METAL bowl. Some metals will react with the acidic tomatoes and cause a nasty metallic taste to develop.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir well. 
  4. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours to let the flavors absorb and the gazpacho to reach a good cold temperature.
Cold soup: the wave of the future and of lazy people!

I stick pretty close to Ina Garten's recipe. I just lower the amounts of the bell pepper and onion to let the cucumber shine a little more. Also, I use grape tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes because they add some extra sweetness to the gazpacho.

Rosemary, Spinach & Brie Grilled Cheese
Halfway there
Servings: 1
Time: 10 miutes

2 slices of bread
Several sprigs of rosemary
1-2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp brie
Baby spinach, uncooked

  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Sprinkle some rosemary on each buttered side.
  3. Put spinach and brie on the unbuttered sides. Remember the spinach will shrink as it starts to cook, so put lots.
  4. Combine the pieces and cook each side over medium heat until toasted (about 3 minutes per side). Also, remember that the second side will cook faster since the pan will have warmed up more.
If only it were as large as it looks in the picture.
This buttery, cheesy deliciousness is inspired by the great folks at Studio Cafe Magazzino in Burbank. They actually fill the inside with olive oil too, but I feel like that's a little bit overkill (although quite amazing). The rosemary provides some great fragrance and really gives the sandwich some extra pop. Also, the spinach lets you pretend that you're eating something healthy. It really is the perfect adult grilled cheese sandwich, and it tastes even better dipped in the gazpacho.

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