When I was little, I called grilled cheese sandwiches “girl cheese” sandwiches. Makes sense, right? Boys had cooties and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to eat something as crispy and buttery with perfectly melted cheese. I thought it made perfect sense.
Last summer, my friend Corey worked at a food cart here in Portland called the Grilled Cheese Grill. If you haven’t heard of it, they have these really wonderful, creative, goofy grilled cheese sandwiches. My personal favorite is the jalapeno popper: roasted jalapenos, colby jack, cream cheese, and tortilla chips on sourdough.
Sometimes, when lunchtime rolls around in our apartment, I go hunting through our cabinets and fridge shelves and I am just so uninspired. But the other day, that was not the case. We had a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from New Seasons (usually we get whole wheat, but when I have my way, sourdough it is), and all I wanted was a grilled cheese. But I wanted to make it interesting, and the other thing I had been craving? Caramelized onions.
When I told Jonah of this amazing sandwich, he got jealous and made himself one for lunch the next day. The fever is catching…
Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions
Makes one sandwich
Two slices of bread (preferably sourdough)
Cheddar cheese, sliced into thin pieces (we buy Tillamook sharp cheddar)
Parmesan cheese, sliced into thin pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4-1/2 tsp brown sugar
The first step is to caramelize the onions. Throw your onion slices in a pan over medium-low heat. Cover and let them soften for a few minutes, then sprinkle the brown sugar and a pinch of salt over them and stir to coat evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, allowing the onions to brown and soften all the way. After the onions are softened turn the heat up to medium-high and let them cook for another couple minutes, stirring. This will give them a nice sear on the edges.
While your onions are softening, butter the outsides of your sandwich bread (the side that will hit the pan). Thinly slice the cheddar cheese and put it on BOTH sides of the bread. This is key. Nothing is worse than making a grilled cheese with stuff other than cheese on it and then having the bread slide around because there’s no cheese sticking it in place. I’m serious. I put slices of parmesan on just one side so there wasn’t too much of it: parm is a strong cheese and you don’t want it to overpower anything.
When your onions are ready, lay them on the bed of cheese you have created for them. Put the two sides of the sandwich together, and throw it in the pan over medium heat. Cover it while it cooks (this makes the cheese melt quicker so that you don’t have to burn the bread while you’re waiting for the melting to occur). When the bread is golden brown, flip, and cook until the other side is golden brown too. Put on a plate, cut down the middle, and serve, warm and gooey and cheesy. Enjoy!