Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grilled Spinach and Cheese Sandwich

When I get home from my job at the Cheeky Monkey Deli, unless I've grabbed a sandwich there I'm usually pretty hungry, 'cause I've been working through lunch and I don't get to eat it myself until I get off. So I want something pretty quick, but I also want something really tasty, because I've been surrounded by great food all day. So just the other day I came back and made this:

I probably could have taken a better picture, but I think you get the point. It's a grilled spinach and cheese sandwich, and it's about the easiest and most rewarding thing to make when you have the three magical things in your fridge. The key here is to use *good* quality bread, spinach, and cheese. I mean, don't go overboard and get super fancy stuff, I'm just talking about regular-good. I baked the bread myself (you don't have to do that, but it sure is fun and you get some delicious, delicious bread for super cheap, if you've got the time), the cheese is from an Iowan dairy that uses milk from Amish farmers (so freakin' good: http://www.miltoncreamery.com/ if you're in the area, it was at our co-op in Minneapolis), the spinach was organic, blah blah blah but I think it's important that you start with good ingredients that weren't treated with nasty chemicals. Did you know that a big reason why we use so many pesticides and fertilizers and stuff is that after WWII we weren't making as many bombs and poisons, so they converted the chemical factories so they would make things we could dump on our farmland to make stuff grow better? Weird, no? You'd think that since we've been doing fine without industrially produced agricultural chemicals for, say, all of human history, maybe it wouldn't be so weird to try farming without them.

OK, rant's over, let's get to the food.

Grilled Spinach and Cheese Sandwich

  • Bread
  • Spinach
  • Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Kitchen Supplies
  • A skillet
  • Spatula
93.7 The Current

Wash your spinach well. It sucks to have dirt as a flavor, as great as it is in other contexts. You don't even need to cut it up. Just heat up a dash of olive oil (not too much, the spinach sweats a lot and you end up with a lot of liquid that you just pour out) (this is on medium heat), throw in your spinach leaves, and throw on a little (!) salt. Never oversalt, it really stinks to try and fix it. Just remember, you can always add more salt later. Grind on some pepper and stir it around until it starts to wilt. At this point, there should be a little green puddle in the bottom of the skillet. Hold back the spinach with your spatula and let most of it drain out. Now add in the cheese that you've already chopped up or grated, as much or little as you like. Continue to cook, stirring a lot, until the cheese is melted in and the spinach is a vibrant green and well wilted, but not overcooked. While this is happening, stick your slices of bread in the toaster. When your bread pops up and the cheese and spinach is ready (really, it's ready whenever, because you could eat it uncooked if you were in the mood), scoop out the spinachcheese and stick it between the two slices, forming the essential sandwich structure. Now stick the sandwich into the skillet, where there should be some residual mix of oil, spinachy water, and cheese. Let the sandwich fry in this awesome mixture for a while, turning it over before it starts to blacken or smoke. You could turn up the heat a little bit if you wanted but you don't have to. It should take 2-3 minutes on each side. Keep turning to check to see that it's being fried properly, and acquiring an excellent orange color. You could press it down, too, if you wanted. Once the sandwich is solidly together, it is done - it shall be one unit, rather than a loose collection of bread and fillings, and shall move and act as one. Cut it into two triangles because it tastes better that way.


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