by Alexandra of Alexandra’s Kitchen
A spoonful of good chutney, packed with spicy, sweet and sour elements, will keep you reaching for more. This curried apple chutney is no exception with ginger and crushed red pepper flakes providing the heat, vinegar the bite, curry the spice, and apples the sweetness. Freshly squeezed lemon juice and cilantro, added at the very end, brighten it all up. Smeared over flatbread, spooned over meat, or spread over cheese and crackers, this chutney can be used in countless ways.
That said, it takes a bold cheese to avoid getting lost among all those flavors. Wisconsin smoked gouda, with its nutty, buttery intensity, is one that can hold its own against this flavorful chutney, and the two make a great match in this grilled cheese sandwich. Here I’ve used one of my favorite techniques for making grilled cheese sandwiches. The technique comes from chef Suzanne Goin, of Lacques restaurant in Los Angeles, who browns one surface of each slice of bread on the stovetop, tops each untoasted half with cheese, then finishes the melting process in the oven.
I have been making grilled cheese sandwiches this way ever since, regardless of the cheese, the bread or any condiments. Right now I can’t get enough of this spicy-sweet chutney with melty Wisconsin smoked gouda, a combination made all the more sensational with a good, cold IPA.
Smoked Gouda and Curried-Apple Chutney Grilled Cheese
By Alexandra of Alexandra’s Kitchen
Servings: 1 sandwich, 2 cups chutney (enough for 16 sandwiches)
2 large apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
Pinch of kosher salt, to tast
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
1 bay leaf
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Small handful of cilantro, minced
For Grilled Cheese:
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices artisan bread
2 teaspoons neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
2 tablespoons curried-apple chutney
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin smoked gouda cheese, grated
Combine all chutney ingredients except lemon juice and cilantro in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover; mash apples with spoon (or potato masher or whisk) to help break down. Stir, cover and continue cooking 10 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly.
Uncover, stir and add lemon juice and cilantro. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Transfer chutney to storage container; let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate.
For Grilled Cheese:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Spread thin layer of butter on 1 side of each bread slice. Heat oil in skillet. Place bread slices butter-side-down, in skillet and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer bread, butter-side-down, to work surface.
Spread layer of chutney on each untoasted side of bread slices. Top each with half of grated cheese. Return bread to skillet, cheese-side-up, and place skillet in oven. Bake until cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven. Press the two pieces of bread together, melted-cheese-sides-in. Halve sandwich on a diagonal and cool briefly before eating.