Asparagus Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Asparagus Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich 500-1

by Kevin of Closet Cooking

Across the country, the signs of spring are slowly starting to show up. This week I came across some fresh asparagus in the grocery store and though it may not be local, it will certainly help hold me over until the local asparagus arrives.

I have been experimenting with pesto grilled cheese sandwiches for a while now and when I saw the asparagus I was reminded of the asparagus pesto that I made last year and I thought that an asparagus pesto grilled cheese sandwich would be the perfect way to welcome in the first of this year’s asparagus.

The asparagus pesto is pretty tasty all by itself but when you smother it in melted cheese and wrap it in crisp buttery bread it is truly something amazing!  With the strong flavor of in the pesto, I was going to need a cheese that could stand on its own two feet and I figured that a Wisconsin Gruyère would go perfectly with the sweet and juicy asparagus.

One problem with pesto grilled cheese sandwiches is that pesto generally has a lot of moisture so I like to use bread that is a day or two old and I like to lightly toast it first. This way the bread will be able to withstand the extra moisture better. Even with the pre-toasting, this is a pretty messy sandwich but, if a sandwich isn’t messy, is it really worth eating?

Asparagus Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by Kevin of Closet Cooking

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices whole grain bread, very lightly toasted
2 slices Wisconsin Gruyère
2 tablespoons asparagus pesto (see below)

Heat a pan over a-little-below-medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread.

Place one slice, butter side down, in the pan, top with the cheese, pesto and the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Asparagus Pesto

1 cup asparagus, blanched
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons Wisconsin Parmesan, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a food processor and puree.