Grilled cheese sandwiches are God-sends. A comforting and always appreciated go-to dish that is easy to make. This is my kicked-up version. I’m addicted to habanero cheddar cheese. The heat in this cheese is intoxicating, somewhat blistering but totally enjoyable. The heat from habanero cheddar have the gorgeous ability of starting out softly and gradually build into something spicy but tolerable. This is unlike if you just eat a habanero straight up. This grilled cheese variation uses a mix of the habanero cheddar and regular cheddar cheeses. The spice from the habanero is diluted a bit, but still shines.
I like to serve this hotter style of grilled cheese with an Indian-inspired, flavorful tomato chutney. The cool, aromatic, and acidic yet sweet tomato chutney brings balance and depth to the dish. The tamarind pulp is the secret and key to making the tomato chutney different and memory. This, combined with the habanero grilled cheese is the bomb. This ain’t your normal grilled cheese!
Habanero cheddar grilled cheese with tomato chutney
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the sandwich:
- 8 oz habanero cheese, shredded or cut into small pieces
- 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into small pieces
- 16 slices of bread, white or wheat
- 2 sticks butter
- Yellow mustard
For the tomato chutney:
- 5-6 large tomatoes, pulp/seeds removed, flesh only, diced
- 1/2 sweet onion, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons of tamarind water, place tamarind pulp in warm water
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Dash of ground cinnamon
- Dash of ground all-spice
- Dash of ground clove
- Dash of ground ginger
- Dash of dried thyme
First prepare the tomato chutney. This can be stored up to a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
Saute the onion in butter over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Once the onions are translucent and partially caramelized, add the diced tomato flesh. Use only the tomato outer flesh and no pulp / seeds. Add the remainder of the ingredients and spices, cover the saute pan with its lid, and gently cook for 15 minutes. Uncover the saute pan and allow it to reduce for 5 more minutes.
For the grilled cheese, pre-heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Gently melt the butter. Before it starts to brown, add the bread. If the pan is large enough to support four slices of bread, go for it. Once the slices of bread are in the pan, immediately dress one side of the sandwich with mustard and the other with tomato chutney. Afterward, add the cheeses.
After a couple of seconds, combine the slices of bread to make the grilled cheese sandwiches. Continue to fry the bread in the butter. Add some more butter if necessary. Flip the sandwich when appropriate to keep it from getting too brown and toasted. If you are using cubed, rather than shredded, pieces of cheese, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. This will help melt the thicker pieces of cheese.
Serve the grilled habanero cheddar cheese sandwiches by sliced them in a diagonal and with a side of tomato chutney. Enjoy!