People always ask me how I come up with my recipes. For instance, this Opened Faced Pesto Grilled Cheese with Arugula and Strawberries. My answer, I love playing with flavors and making up dishes. Recently, I’ve been making a lot of pesto. The basil is fresh and plentiful. The strawberries have also been delicious lately and I happened to have some in my refrigerator. I’m trying to think what to make my hubby and I for lunch, and all of a sudden this idea for Open Faced Pesto Grilled Cheese with Arugula and Strawberries hits me.
Opened Faced Pesto Grilled Cheese with Arugula and Strawberries
2 Gluten Free English Muffins
2 slices of raw milk cheddar cheese (I’ve also used grass fed cheddar, manchengo, and fontina cheeses)
2 tablespoons Pesto
2 handfuls baby organic arugula
4 large organic Strawberries
Slice English muffins in half and lay on pizza stone (or baking sheet).
Spread 1/2 tablespoon of pesto on each muffin. Slice cheese & lay on top.
Turn oven on to 350 degrees and pop pizza stone in oven. The cheese should be melted and muffin heated through by the time the oven heats up to 350 degrees. But you may want to leave it in for another couple of minutes.
While sandwich is heating up, slice strawberries. Wash arugula. Set both aside.
When cheese is melted, take out of oven. Top with arugula and strawberries and enjoy!
Years ago I went to France and was introduced to Croque-Monsieur, the French version of a toasted ham and Swiss sandwich. According to About.com the word croque comes from the verb croquer or “to crunch”. So a Croque Monsieur roughly translates to “Mister Crunchy”. The feminine version, a “Croque Madam”, includes a fried egg on top.
I thought is was absolutely the most delicious sandwich in the world. Remembering how amazing it was, I just had to have one (well, maybe it was two) when I went back to France last year. Being gluten sensitive, it didn’t sit very well with me but it was still fabulous going down.
When I got home, I decided to create my own version of the croque monscier. Traditionally, croque monsieurs use Gruyère cheese and have a béchamel sauce. I’ve taken liberties with this French treat and make is easy and gluten free.
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (or you could use butter)
6 thin slices of Black Forest Ham
2 slices of Manchego cheese, medium sliced
1/2 parmesan cheese, grated
4 slices of Gluten Free Bread (I use Udi’s or Rudi’s brand, but recently I found a Tapioca bread that is really good.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by putting Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread on one side of each of the slices of bread. On pizza stone, put two slices of bread butter side down. Put one slice of Manchego cheese. Put other slice of bread on top, butter side up.
Place in oven for about 10 minutes. Take out of oven.
Get your broiler going on 475 degrees.
Generously spread parmesan cheese on top of each sandwich.
Place this under the broiler until the cheese is nice and bubbly, roughly 1-2 minutes.
Remove the sandwiches from the broiler, and place on a serving plate. Dig in!
This one is super delicious and has become a regular lunch in our household. It has that sort of impact. Trust me.