Pickles & Pastrami Make A Perfect Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is one of those classic comfort foods that's usually reserved for rainy-day lunches. But adding some meat and spices makes for a hearty, unexpected dinner the whole family will enjoy.

Last week I mentioned a grilled cheese cooking class I'd taken at my favorite local restaurant, The Depot. I took the class because I love grilled cheese. But when I make grilled cheese, it usually consists of American cheese and maybe some sliced tomatoes on sourdough bread. I wanted to see what else was out there. I mean, I know that there are plenty of other options when it comes to grilled cheese, but somehow I never seem to be able to come up with anything. Well, this class opened my eyes... and my tastebuds.

Although all the grilled cheeses of the class were delicious, this Cuban version was the best because it was the heartiest and seemed the most appropriate for either lunch or dinner. Why? Because this grilled cheese included meat. But not just a slice or two, there was probably a quarter pound of grilled pastrami in this sandwich. And it was awesome. Although the sandwich does take a little longer to prepare than your standard cheesy version, this Cuban take is well worth the extra effort.

Cuban grilled cheese sandwich

Yields 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/2 pound shaved pastrami
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread-and-butter pickles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the pastrami in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through and hot.
  2. Spread the butter over one side of each slice of bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the bread, butter side down, on a griddle over medium-high heat and cook for one minute.
  3. Lay two slices of cheese on each slice of bread on the griddle. After one minute pile one-quarter pound of pastrami onto two slices of the bread. Place one-quarter cup of pickles on top of the pastrami and cover with the other slice of bread and cheese. Press down firmly with a spatula and cook for one to two minutes or until the cheese melts.
  4. Transfer each sandwich to a plate, cut in half and serve.

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