Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bologna Grilled Cheese on Garlic-Herb bread

There's something about a bologna and cheese sandwich that speaks to the kid inside us- it definitely speaks to my kids since they ask for them all the time. So if you, like me, are still in touch with your inner child, and have a documented mild obsession with grilled cheese sandwiches, a grilled bologna and cheese is bound to happen sooner or later.

Bologna and Cheese gets all grown up with some home-made bread and a hot grill
Most people think that grilled cheese is all about the cheese- and they're right- to an extent. In my world the bread is equally important. A fresh, home-made bread that has some body to it delivers a great crunchy texture that is the perfect counterpoint to the creamy, molten cheese. A little bit of deli meat adds a little something that cuts through the creaminess with a little extra richness. A good bologna is packed with flavor from the curing spices used. So to make the flavor profile work with that textural counterpoint, I made my bread as a crusty, french style bread with a healthy dose of garlic, herbs (thyme and a little oregano) and a shot of grated parmesan baked in the dough. Again, since I'm lazy, my trusty bread machine did the hard part for me- a did not disappoint this time. This time I experimented using the darker crust setting, and was rewarded with a crust that gave an excellent crunch when grilled with a healthy coating of butter. That strong crunch is your "first impression" when you take a bite, so make it count.

Grilled Cheese is also about the bread.

As always, when using meats on a grilled cheese, you don't want to upstage the cheese, just add enough for the meat flavor to make it's presence known. Two slices (for smaller pieces of bread) to four slices (for the over-sized monster bread slices I prefer) of bologna will do the trick. I always put the slices on the grill first to render out some of the fats, and cook them enough to get a little color on each side before assembling the whole sandwich. 

A little grilled bologna, and a lot of white American cheese makes my day

A great grilled cheese, in my book, has all that rich gooey goodness inside, paired with a little deli meat for extra flavor, and a bread that can hold up to the volcanic mess inside. The crunch, the blast of meted cheese, that little bit of bologna, is enough to make you feel like a kid again.

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