Well it’s that time of year again! The Super Bowl. Or for me, an excuse to snack whenever I want, start drinking at noon, and do absolutely nothing all day. Confession: I never really watched the whole game until last year. My ex was a die-hard Seattle fan, so I was not allowed to pretend to be watching. I can only imagine how excited he is for his team to be there for two years in a row. I’m not sure if I’ll watch at all this year…but I did celebrate Seattle’s success by watching Top Chef: Seattle while I made this. (Kristen Kish you rock my world) That counts right?
But let’s be real. It’s all about the snacks. And actually, I like to prioritize how I start the activities. Sure the dips and chips will always have a place in my heart, but lunch is really where the day gets going. And what’s better than a melty grilled cheese sandwich? Probably nothing. Except a melty grilled cheese sandwich with a beer.
So let’s get started with the best part of this sandwich. Garlic jelly! I saw it in Saveur’s Holiday issue this year, and I have been dying to have an excuse to make it. Because I love garlic. And what better time for sweet and salty spreads than the Super Bowl!?
The garlic jelly is pretty simple to make, but it does take some time. Apples and garlic are first placed in water and heated for a half an hour. The purpose of this is to extract all of the good stuff. The soluble flavors in the garlic and apples are coaxed into the water. Heat achieves this by speeding the reaction up. The tiny substances dissolved in the water of the apples and garlic cloves, or solutes, want to move toward a “less populated” solution—or the water. Normally this takes quite a while when the original home to the solutes isn’t over saturated, but the heat helps us out there. While the solutes move out of the apples and garlic, water rushes in to replace them. I’m sure you’ll notice the apple slices and garlic cloves swell with extra water. This will continue until the solutions are balanced between the cooking water and apple/garlic. Commonly, this is known as osmosis.
Following the extraction of solutes from the apples and garlic, the solution is concentrated with a long period of water evaporation and the addition of sugar. The evaporation of water combined with the sugar reduces the volume of the solution and makes the flavors from the apples and garlic more intense. It also thickens the solution into a syrup that, upon cooling, thickens further into a gel or jelly!
Enjoy the lunchtime snack while you root on your favorite team! Let the clash of the coasts begin…
I followed this recipe pretty much to a T, but I did have to let my jelly reduce for longer than the listed amount of time. Mine took about two hours to concentrate. If you refrigerate your jelly and find it’s too thin and not thickening after chilling, simply return the solution to a sauce pan and continue to heat and simmer for another half hour.
Melty Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 Sandwich
2 slices Italian bread
2 thick slices creamy Havarti
2 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
2 small sweet pickles, cut in half
1 slice prosciutto
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a small skillet to medium heat. Slather chilled garlic jelly on both bread slices.
2. Cover one slice with sliced Havarti followed by prosciutto. Cover the other slice with shredded Swiss followed by the pickle slices. Sprinkle both sides with some cracked pepper and salt.
3. Sandwich the two slices (carefully) and spread butter on the outside of the top slice of bread.
4. When the skillet is warm, place the sandwich—butter side down—on the skillet (carefully). After two minutes of grilling, flip the sandwich with a spatula. (just watch that Maillard Browning in action) After another two minutes, your sandwich is ready to be moved to a plate and devoured!
Alternatively, if you’re preparing multiple sandwiches at once, Bon Appetit offers a quick way to do this.