as a child, i could never resist a grilled cheese. the bite into the crisp buttery crust and then the oozing cheesy goodness . . . it didn't get much better than that. luckily, in my wiser older years, i've learned to graduate beyond the radioactive orange kraft slices between two pieces of white wonder bread and have upgraded to the most delicious version of this childhood favorite. for any of you living in san francisco, you've probably heard of the hog island oyster company. while i've only made it to the farm in point reyes for the fresh oysters, the bar version in the ferry plaza offers according to many the most amazing grilled cheese, which isn't surprising when the three cheeses come from its dairy goddess neighbor, cowgirl creamery, and the bread comes from acme bakery, just right down the plaza.
last weekend, i decided to recreate their sandwich at home and hear what all the rage was about. on my saturday trip to the ferry plaza farmer's market, i stopped by cowgirl and asked for the three cheeses in the hog island grilled cheese, enough for four. i was given a mezzo secco, a cave aged gruyere and cowgirl's own fromage blanc. my second and last stop to complete the best adult grilled cheese ever was at acme bread for a piece of their herb slab.
when i finally got home to my kitchen, i ended up making an open face melt, topped with some tender oyster mushrooms dug up from my produce bin. very adult, eh?
hog island grilled cheese with sauted mushrooms
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 tbs. sherry
1 tsp. thyme leaves
salt & pepper
1 herb slab
2 tbs. butter
8 oz. fromage blanc
1/2 lb. cave aged gruyere
1/2 lb. mezzo secco
heat up medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. add olive oil, then shallot and garlic. heat for about 30 seconds before adding oyster mushrooms. saute for 2 minutes and add sherry. saute for another minute until mushrooms are completely softened. toss with thyme leaves and season to taste with salt & pepper.
slice herb slabs into 4 even pieces. cute each piece in half, to have two slices per sandwich. butter the crust on each slice of bread. spread the fromage blanc evenly on each slice of bread. then layer evenly with gruyere and mezzo secco. grill for about a minute over a grill pan, over medium heat and then place in an oven under a low broil for about 5 to 7 minutes until cheese starts to boil.
garnish with thyme and indulge like a child even if you're all grown up now. i won't tell.