I just made something for lunch that was so good that I am sitting down to write about it immediately, even though I do not have time to write food blog posts right now. If I did have time to write this food blog right now, there are a dozen other, already half finished posts in line before this one. This sandwich was so good that writing about it has shot to the top of my to-do list. Please try this sandwich if you like crispy things and melted cheese. Try it if you think you don’t like broccoli. Try it if the idea of wasabi mayonnaise sounds good to you (I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea).
This sandwich combines 3 different recipes together. One is a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook that my mum gave me when I went to college. I do not remember it’s name or anything about it (It was not a good cookbook…sorry Mum) except that there was one recipe for pita pocket stuffed with melted munster cheese, broccoli and wasabi mayonnaise. It was memorably good. Even though I do not like pita pockets or munster cheese or broccoli (if I’m being honest) all that much, this dish has crossed my mind fondly on a fairly regular bases for over 20 years.
The second recipe is the recipe for The Best Roasted Brocolli from The Nimble Cook by Ronna Welsh. We read this book for our cookbook club when it first came out and I have continued to use and love many of the recipes from it. You can read about some of the other recipes I recommend from The Nimble Cook here . Scratch what I said about Broccoli just a few sentences ago, because I love broccoli when it is cooked using this method.
The third recipe is one that I read on Food52 that suggests using mayonnaise instead of butter to make a crispier grilled cheese. I am an unapologetic lover of mayonnaise, so this sounded like a good idea to me. If you hate mayonnaise you may want to stop reading now.
I got a really tiny head of delicious broccoli in my farm-share and ate the whole thing on my one sandwich. A typical head of broccoli would make about 4 of these sandwiches.
CRISPY GRILLED CHEESE WITH BROCCOLI AND WASABI
This is a recipe for ONE large sandwich. Multiply it as needed
- 1 tiny head of broccoli (if you have a big head of broccoli just roast it all and eat the rest of the broccoli later, or make 4 sandwiches )
- olive oil for roasting
- crunchy salt (I like Maldone)
- 2 slices of bread (I used gluten-free sourdough)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon prepared wasabi paste
- 2 (or more) slices munster cheese (or some other cheese that melts easily)
- Some other things that I did not include this time, but might try in the future are chives or the green part of a scallion ,thinly sliced and furikaki.
INSTRUCTIONS- for the broccoli
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Slice the Broccoli into long, flat pieces about 1/2 inch thick. The goal is to cut the broccoli to get as much flat surface area as you can. You can usually get 3 or 4 slices that are broccoli cross section, complete with stem, branches and florets. These will seem huge, but they shrink down. There will be some larger florets that fall off which you should just slice in half. Any little extra bits will go into the roasting pan as well.
- Brush to both sides of the broccoli with a thin layer of olive oil. Toss any loose bits with just a bit of oil to coat. Spread everything onto a metal roasting pan so that the broccoli is touching the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt and roast for 15-20 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, flip the broccoli. It should be turning golden on the cut sides, and the florets should be starting to char and crisp. If needed, you can give it 5 more minutes on this first side. Otherwise, flip it and put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
INSTRUCTIONS- for the grilled cheese
- While you wait, brush one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Mix the remaining mayonnaise with the prepared wasabi and set aside. Start to heat a dry cast iron frying pan. If you don’t have a cast iron you may want to wait to heat your pan until the broccoli is done
- When the broccoli is crispy on both sides, turn the oven off. Lay the bread, mayonnaise side down in the hot frying pan.
- Layer the each piece of bread with a slice of cheese. If you are a big cheese fan, feel free to use more cheese than I did. Pile the hot broccoli on top of one slice. It is fine if it hangs over the edge. If you are using scallions or chives or furikaki, sprinkle them into the cheese on the other piece of bread. Dollop the wasabi mayo on top of the broccoli. If you used a lot of cheese you may want to partially cover the pan to help it melt before the bread burns.
- When the cheese is melted, close the sandwich and eat it while hot. I would like to eat this sandwich with this tomato soup.