When I was little there was nothing as comforting as a grilled cheese sandwich. Although I enjoyed its crisply toasted exterior and gooey melted-cheese center, what I loved most about a grilled cheese was the name. For the longest time, I thought they were called "girl cheese sandwiches," meaning that the sandwich was something so special and delicious only girls like myself got to enjoy them. Eventually, I learned that boys ate them too, but at that point, I was so smitten by the classic combination of cheese and bread that I didn't care.
My latest favorite "girl" cheese sandwich is actually a baked cheese sandwich. With its three cheeses (fontina, provolone, and parmesan), triple decker, and slow roasted tomatoes, it's far more gourmet than anything I devoured as a child. However, it still is everything a classic grilled cheese should be: nostalgic, comforting, and sublimely scrumptious. To savor every bite of this sandwich yourself, get the recipe now.
8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 white Pullman loaves—ends discarded, each loaf cut into twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 pound sliced provolone cheese
1 pound Fontina cheese, coarsely shredded (about 5 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the halved tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes cut side up for 1 1/2 hours, until soft and starting to brown.
- Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the tomatoes are very tender and slightly shriveled but still juicy. Let cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
- Brush 16 bread slices with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; arrange 8 of the slices oiled side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Top with the provolone and the unbrushed bread slices.
- Cover with the tomatoes, 4 cups of the Fontina and the remaining 8 bread slices, oiled side up.
- Press gently on the sandwiches and bake for about 15 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
- Preheat the broiler. Toss the remaining Fontina with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and sprinkle on the sandwiches. Broil 3 inches from the heat for about 1 minute, until the cheese is melted. Transfer the sandwiches to plates and serve.
- Main Dishes, Sandwiches