Remember the days when you wouldn't touch anything but PB&J with a ten-foot pole? When "eat your Brussels sprouts or no dessert" inspired stomach-clenching dread? When you made a face at the dinner table?
Yeah, us too. Thankfully, we grow up, and so do our palates. But some combinations are so naturally delicious, so cosmically destined, that they still hold the same magical sway over our taste buds as they did in our youth. One such pairing is the legendary grilled cheese & tomato soup. Since there's no way to top the classic of our childhood, tonight's dinner takes this delicious combination in a whole new direction. It's called adulthood, friends, and yes, it still includes cheese and bread.
Serves 4 to 6
Two 1/2 inch slices of a 4 x 4 piece of Danish fontina cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup bread crumbs made from dried croissants
1/4 cup clarified butter
1. Set up a breading station by placing the flour in a small casserole, whisk the eggs with the milk and pour them into a small casserole, and finally place the croissant crumbs into a small casserole. Line them up left to right starting with the flour then the egg wash and end with the crumbs.
2. Cut each square piece of cheese into two triangles so you have four pieces total now.
3. Dredge each piece of cheese into the flour making sure it is dusted with flour in all the crooks and crannies.
4. Soak them in the egg was for a few seconds so the wash is absorbed by the flour. Otherwise when you remove it you will see the egg wash magically evaporate in spots leaving only flour.
5. Now dredge the cheese into the croissant crumbs.
6. Place them back into the egg wash, drain them, and then back into the croissant crumbs. It is really important that you double coat the cheese and make sure they are coated completely. You may even coat them a third time if you aren't sure. If they aren't completely coated they will leak the cheese and you will wind up with a hollow bread shell.
7. Leave the cheese setting in the croissant crumbs. Place an 10 inch saute pan over medium high heat. Add the clarified butter.
8. The butter is hot enough when you can drop some croissant crumbs in and they hesitate an instant and then start sizzling.
9. Fry the cheese until brown and then carefully flip them with a spatula. It helps to tip the pan away from you so the oil runs to one side and then flip the cheese to the no oil side. Be careful not to splash the butter onto your hands.
10. Brown the other side and serve with lingonberries on the side.
1 large leek
1 large pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for serving
2 1/2 inch slices of Danish fontina cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs, made from dried croissants
1/4 cup clarified butter
Lingonberry preserves (optional)
You probably have butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, chicken stock, whole milk, flour, and eggs. If not, be sure to pick those up, too.
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened -- this should take about 5 minutes. Add the squash, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add enough chicken stock just to cover the squash, about 2 to 3 cups (if you have added all of the stock and still need more liquid, add some water). Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
4. Meanwhile, set up a breading station by placing 1 cup flour in a small casserole, whisking two eggs eggs with 1/2 cup milk and pouring them into a small casserole, and finally placing the croissant crumbs into yet a third small casserole. Line them up left to right starting with the flour then the egg wash and end with the crumbs.
5. Cut each square piece of cheese into two triangles so you have four pieces total. Dredge each piece of cheese into the flour. Soak the cheese in the egg was for a few seconds so the wash is absorbed by the flour. Dredge the cheese into the croissant crumbs. Place them back into the egg wash, drain them, and then back into the croissant crumbs. Leave the cheese sitting in the croissant crumbs.
6. Switch back to the soup. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup with 1 cup of milk. Return to the pot and heat until just simmering. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
7. Place a 10-inch saute pan over medium high heat. Add the clarified butter. Fry the cheese until brown and then carefully flip them with a spatula. Brown the other side and plate the cheese (add lingonberries on the side if serving)
8. Ladle some soup into a bowl; stir in a splash of cream and sherry. Dipping is optional but encouraged.
Tip: Soup can be made 2-3 days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Reheat on the stove and then drizzle with cream.
Photos by Sarah Shatz and James Ransom
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Dinner Tonight: Grilled Fontina and Creamy Butternut Squash Soup