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.
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.
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 saut? 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.
Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed saut? 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.
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.
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