Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

About Me

My Photo
The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
View my complete profile


Powered by Blogger.
Apr 27, 2011

Grilled Ham & Chimay Cheese Sandwiches

Libations used: 1/4 cup Belgian white beer
Libations left over: 3/4 of a bottle
Grilled Cheese Month is almost coming to an end, but there's still time to whip up a boozy grilled cheese before this week's end.  Bon Appétit nailed this Grilled Ham and Chimay Cheese Sandwich with Caramelized Belgian Endive with double libations in the cheese and endive.  Chimay "à la bière" cheese is a semisoft Belgian cheese that is washed with Chimay beer, and has a pungent aroma and pretty mild flavor.  I had been eyeing it at Trader Joe's for months, and should have made a grilled cheese with it a long time ago because it melts so perfectly.  The endive is caramelized in sugar, orange juice and Belgian white beer - I must think of other dishes to use endive prepared like this!  Because I was staying in on a Monday night, I cut down this recipe for a single serving.

Grilled Ham & Chimay Cheese Sandwiches - serves 1
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 head of Belgian endive, with root end trimmed & leaves separated
  • Scant 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup Belgian white beer (I used Blue Moon)
  • 1 Tbs orange juice
  • 2 slices country-style bread (I used sourdough)
  • Butter or mayo (read why using mayo rocks for grilled cheese)
  • 2 slices ham or prosciutto (I used black forest smoked ham)
  • Chimay cheese, somewhat thinly sliced
  • Pickles and whole grain Dijon mustard for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350.

For the endive:
- Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nice and hot.
- Add endive leaves and sauté until almost translucent and beginning to wilt (1-2 min).
- Sprinkle sugar over endive and sauté until edges are a deep golden brown, stirring often (2-3 min).
- Add beer and orange juice until liquid is reduced to a thick glaze and coats that endive (3-4 min).
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Let cool to room temperature.

For the sandwiches:
- I used 2 huge slices of sourdough bread and cut each in half.  Spread 1 side of each bread slice half with butter or mayo and set on baking sheet with buttered side down.
- Put a slice of ham on each slice and enough pieces of cheese for 1 layer.
- Top with remaining bread slices and slather some mayo on top.
- Heat a clean, large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the sandwiches to skillet and cook until brown on the bottom - about 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer sandwiches back to baking sheet, browned side up.
- Bake in oven until sandwiches are brown on bottom and cheese melts (about 5 minutes).
- Arrange sandwich on plate and spoon endive, mustard and a pickle alongside it.  Why?  Because it just looks pretty serving it that way.
- Devour with endive and mustard spread inside each sandwich.
- Drink rest of beer.