When I first made //this French onion dip// for #52NewEats last year, I was so blown away by the flavor that I was immediately interested in how else I could use French fried onions in other recipes. And one of the first things that came to mind was a French onion grilled cheese!
I chose two different cheeses – Gruyere for its traditional affiliation with French onion soup, and Monterey Jack for its superior creamy, melt factor. And I chose sourdough bread because it’s hands-down the best bread for grilled cheese! Slightly firmer than regular white bread, with a nice texture and flavor.
As for the onions, I like mine diced – they are easier to eat, to me – but you could easily slice them into strips if that’s what you prefer. So I used pretty much the same ingredients and method as the onions used in the French onion dip recipe linked above. I did omit the balsamic vinegar, because I didn’t think it would be right in a grilled cheese recipe – but maybe it would be delicious! If you think so, give it a try!
4 slices sourdough bread
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Start by making your French fried onions. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions, diced shallots, and fresh thyme sprig. Let cook until onions are very soft and caramel in color, about 30-45 minutes. Don’t burn – if they start to burn, turn the heat down a little. Somewhere between the 30-45 minute mark, when you think the onions are almost done, remove the sprig of thyme and add the worcestershire sauce. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced – this shouldn’t take long, maybe another 5-10 minutes tops. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
2. Combine shredded cheeses in a bowl and toss to mix evenly. Set aside.
3. Spread softened butter on one side of each slice of sourdough bread. Heat a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat, and place two slices of buttered bread butter-side down in the pan. Top each slice with 1/4 of the shredded cheese mixture, 1/2 the French onion mixture, 1/2 of the minced chives, then the remaining shredded cheese. Then place the other two buttered slices of bread butter-side up. At this point they will look like tall sandwiches, but the cheese will melt down – have patience! When the cheese on the bottom half has melted or the bread is browned to your liking, carefully flip the sandwich over and cook the other side. When the sandwiches are finished, slice in half and enjoy!