Dear SOS: One of my favorite late-night meals has been sitting at the bar at Lucques on Melrose, snacking on the grilled cheese sandwich and washing it down with a gin gimlet. I can make the gimlet but can never duplicate the combination of crispy bread and several cheeses. Help.
Gary McDaniel Oxnard
FOR THE RECORD:
Grilled cheese: In a recipe for Lucques' grilled cheese with shallots in Wednesday's Food section, the oven temperature was omitted. The oven should be heated to 400 degrees. —
Dear Gary: Forget the gimlet. We were thinking a white Bordeaux or Burgundy, or even a California Chardonnay, would go great with this grilled cheese sandwich. It's made with gentle, buttery Cantal, a mild semi-firm cheese with a fantastic creamy consistency when melted. Caramelized shallots punctuated with a little fresh thyme add another dimension. Put all that between two crisp slices of country-style bread and raise a glass.
Lucques' grilled cheese with shallots
Total time: About 30 minutes
Servings: 1 or 2
Note: From chef-owner Suzanne Goin. She recommends serving the sandwich with an arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and best-quality olive oil.
2 large shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 slices country white bread, sliced 1/2 -inch thick
5 ounces Cantal cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1. Cut the shallots in half lengthwise and peel them. Place the shallots cut-side down. Slice lengthwise into about one-eighth-inch wedges. In a small sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring often until the shallots are caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl in the pan until it is melted. Place the two slices of bread in the pan and toast for a minute or two until just beginning to color. Divide the cheese evenly between the two pieces and top with the shallots.
3. Place the pan in the oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crispy. Remove to a cutting board and carefully assemble the sandwich, placing together the two slices of bread. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.
Each of 2 servings: 705 calories; 26 grams protein; 53 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 43 grams fat; 26 grams saturated fat; 120 mg. cholesterol; 1,026 mg. sodium.