Alison's Lunch

www.alisonslunch.com

toasted cheese sandwiches with red onions, sundried tomatoes, and crunchy romaine lettuce

toasted cheese sandwiches with sundried tomatoes, red onions, and crisp romaine lettuce with balsamic dip

You might think it’s silly to have a recipe for a toasted cheese sandwich, but this recipe is something else altogether. Since Margo made one of these sandwiches for me, I’ve not made a regular toasted cheese sandwich. Instead of the usual plain cheese filling, you grill the sandwich with sundried tomatoes and red onions in it (OK, so far not that different), but here’s the kicker: after the sandwich is completely toasted and the cheese melted, you open it up and pop in a wad of fresh romaine leaves. Then you close up the sandwich and eat it, crunching the lettuce leaves and enjoying the melty cheese, dunking each bite in a little dish of balsamic vinegar. It’s so easy, and SO yummy! It’s great for lunch, or you can serve it with any seasonal vegetable dish or green salad for a wonderful dinner.

slices of 100% whole wheat sourdough bread
softened butter
sharp cheddar cheese, or whatever cheese you prefer, sliced
oil-packed sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced (don’t put too many in)
thinly sliced red onions
lots of leaves of washed, dried romaine lettuce
good-quality balsamic vinegar (Costco brand is fine)

1.    Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of butter. On one slice, on the unbuttered side, line up a few slices of tomatoes, then layer slices of cheese, then top with red onions. Top with the other slice of bread (buttered side out).
2.    Place sandwiches in a skillet over medium heat and grill slowly until the buttered bread is nicely browned on both sides and the cheese is well melted.
3.    Take the sandwich out of the skillet and set it on a cutting board. Open it up (try not to burn yourself on the hot cheese) and pack it with several leaves of romaine. Close it back again and carefully cut the sandwich in half.
4.    Put a small dish of balsamic vinegar on the table and dip your sandwich in as you eat it. We love trying the different vinegars at Summit Spice and Tea Co. (1120 E Huffman Road).