French Onion Grilled Cheese

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5.01.13 by sarah

French Onion Grilled Cheese

In the past few months, I’ve found myself in a few situations where I’m surrounded by kids.

The first instance was back in January, when Kristen asked me to give a presentation at her students’ career day. That was an absolute blast — I was unbelievably nervous, but I brought a ton of freebies from the Department of Energy (lunch bags, bookmarks, the whole shebang) and I even attended the 8th graders’ English class with them. They’re reading Lord of the Flies. Does that bring back memories?

French Onion Grilled Cheese

There have been a few instances in my own office building that have called for a last-minute chat with kids about career options. Today, I got to chat with two groups of high school students from a technical high school in DC about working in STEM — and how you don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer to work in STEM. I make art. High-functioning, scientific and useful art.

Design is a lovely thing.

French Onion Grilled Cheese

And tomorrow, I’m starting a mentorship program with a high school student. Tomorrow, well, tomorrow is my birthday. I can’t think of a better way to spend it.

Thanks for letting me share these moments with you. And to accompany the flashbacks all this talk of teenagers might have spurred, enjoy this grown-up grilled cheese sandwich (also on the cheeseboard sent to me by Rochelle from yesterday’s post).

Hope your humpday is moving along quickly.

French Onion Grilled Cheese

French Onion Grilled Cheese, inspired by the adorable Joy the Baker

Four slices of a good, firm sourdough bread (I keep softer sourdough in the freezer, which also works)
2 or 3 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded or sliced gruyere cheese
A few sage leaves, sliced
Butter. Mmm… buddah.
Salt & pepper to taste

Well, grilled cheese, we meet again. Let’s take it up a notch.

I can’t go through sourdough bread fast enough (thanks for nothing, diet), so if I have it in the house, I keep it in the freezer. I recommend that tactic, because I actually like grilled cheese sandwiches made from frozen bread better. Something about the temperature and the way the cheese melts into it.

ANYWAY. Heat a skillet on high until the pan is hot — so hot that you can only hold your hand over it for about 4 or 5 seconds before recoiling. Then, turn the heat down to medium. Add your sliced onions, and drizzle with a bit of butter. Stir constantly. After the onions turn translucent, the edges will start to brown — this should take about 5 to 7 minutes. When burnt bits start to collect at the bottom, pour in your 1/4 cup of heavy cream (yes, we are caramelizing onions in heavy cream). Season with salt, pepper and sage. Keep stirring, and cook over medium-high heat until the onions actually turn to a caramel color. This should take another 15 minutes or so. Longer if you want them really caramelized.

Scrape the bottom of the skillet, and transfer the onions to a bowl. Reduce your heat to low. Butter both sides of each slice of bread, and shred or slice your gruyere. Place one slice of bread on the skillet, then layer it with cheese, then pile on the caramelized onions, and then top with another slice of bread. Make sure your heat is on low — you want a slow cook.

I gave them about 7 minutes per side, which gave the sandwich just the right color and melted the cheese into the holes of the sourdough bread.

It’s a favorite of mine.

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