Friday, January 21, 2005


Grilled Cheese With Tomatoes

Things to do in LA when you are feeling just a little too thin: Go to Campanile for the Thursday Night Grilled Cheese menu. Of course, it’s a rare occasion that I’m feeling too thin, but my favorite boy Andrew and I ended up there last night anyway because the place we meant to be eating (Luna Park) got a C rating from the health board and neither of us could bring ourselves to overlook that. So off to Campanile we went. Despite the popularity of the weekly event, and the fact they don’t take reservations, we were seated immediately and ordered a martini (me) and an extraordinary glass of Barolo (for him). For an appetizer, we split the baked Mozzarella Bagna Cauda, because we just didn’t think we would get enough cheese with our entrees. (ha) It was five pieces of excellent La Brea bakery bread, with thick slices of (I wouldn’t say baked actually. The cheese was just barely warm) mozzarella, all skewered together with a rosemary branch then smothered in a lemony bagna cauda. Negotiating the rosemary was a pain, since it was oily, but once that was dealt with, the rest of it was incredible. Of course, after that I was full, but since we had ordered our sandwiches already we pressed on. Andrew had the Croque Monsieur, ($16) and I had the Classic. (For $14. Onions and mustard were extra.) Both sandwiches were made in a panini press, leaving lovely golden grill marks and perfectly melted cheese. They also came with thin French fries with lots of salt and a little thyme sprinkled over, and a salad of baby arugula in a basic oil and vinegar dressing. My sandwich was perfect, the Fontina cheese was just melted enough and the bread was crispy-chewy. The Croque Monsieur had a slice of Bayonne ham and the perfect amount of a mildly lemony béchamel sauce giving it a little tang to cut through the richness of the cheese. Overall it was a great dinner, and with the addition of running into friends, seeing a B list character actor and then going to see Kirsten perform her hysterically funny monologue on dating, it was a perfect night. Now, for a recipe, I would love to include one of theirs, but since that all is copywrited, you can look them up in her book, Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book or try this:

4 slices of rustic bread,
¼ pound best quality fontina cheese, sliced thick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large ripe tomato, sliced thin (optional)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coarse mustard

Smear all four slices of bread, on one side, with the butter. On two of the slices, on the other side, spread the mustard and then pile on the cheese and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and top with another slice of the bread, butter side out.

If you have a panini grill, use that, otherwise, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add one sandwich at a time and cook until golden brown (about 3 minutes) , turn and repeat on the other side. Remove from pan, slice on the diagonal and serve.

Additions: Grilled onions, bacon, roasted peppers, blue cheese, chipotles in adobo sauce or béchamel sauce.

Makes two sandwiches
In 2001 Nancy Silverton, her husband, Chef Mark Peel, (of Campanile) and partner, Manfred Krankl,

sold an 80 percent stake in the La Brea bakery to the Irish company IAWS Group for $68.5 million
–The Business Review

Why did the man stare at the can of orange juice? Because it said 'concentrate.'

12% of the soda sold in the U.S. is consumed for breakfast

I just found out my sister-in-law Maria is pregnant! Congrats to you both! I love you!

Delicious recipe, we had it for dinner tonight. I forgot to get the coarse mustard so I used regular with a little bit of Worchestire and added grilled onions done in the oven. Yum!

I know it's late, but it's only April so I'm thinking she didn't have the baby yet - congrats to your bro and SIL!
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