Grilled cheese sandwiches with sweet onions

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Grilled cheese sandwiches with sweet onions
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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Wedge some thinly sliced sweet onions between thick slices of bread along with a rich, semi-soft cheese and grill away. Be aware that what you see labeled as Maui onions are the same onions as those grown, for example, in California’s Imperial Valley. This is true of every other sweet onion in America, with the exception of those from Walla Walla, Wash., so don’t get hung up on what it’s labeled — a sweet onion is pretty much a sweet onion, regardless of its claimed place of origin.

These sweet onions should not be cooked. The thing that makes them so special is that they are low in the acrid chemicals that give onions their distinctive bite.


Trim the crusts from the loaf of bread, leaving a solid, evenly shaped rectangle. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the bread in lengthwise slices just as thin as you can, one-fourth- to one-half-inch thick. You should get 6 to 8 slices.


Trim the rinds from the cheese and cut it into thin slices. Cut the onion in half and then slice it as thinly as possible, using a mandoline or a very sharp chef’s knife. Put the onion in a bowl and season it with vinegar, parsley and salt to taste.


Spread one-fourth to one-third of the cheese over 1 long slice of bread, being careful not to come too close to the edges -- you don’t want it oozing into the pan when it melts. Scatter one-fourth to one-third of the onion over that. Cover with another slice of bread and press together firmly. Repeat with remaining bread, cheese and onions.


Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over low heat. Fry 1 sandwich at a time, gently but firmly pressing down with a spatula or a heavy pan. Cook about 5 to 6 minutes on the first side, about 4 on the second. Repeat with remaining sandwiches, adding more butter as necessary.


Neatly trim the edges of the cooked sandwiches with a serrated knife and then cut each sandwich into thin crosswise strips, about three-fourths-inch wide. Serve hot.