Our basil plants have been growing like crazy this spring and I’ve been using fresh Pesto in more and more recipes. After I made this Pesto Grilled Cheese the other night for a quick dinner, I knew I had to share the recipe. It’s definitely one of my new favorites.
I combined thick layers of the licorice flavored pesto with the milder bite of Swiss and just a hint of Parmesan cheese, but what really set’s of the flavor of the sandwich is the tangy crust made with the peppercorn olive oil mayonnaise crust. I’ve always made my grilled cheese sandwiches with mayo, it gives the sandwich a nice dry crust, unlike butter that can leave the bread soggy. And the tangy flavor with the spicy peppercorns added a wonderful element to this exceptional and easy sandwich.
To make your Pesto sandwich just start out with the basics:
Whole Wheat Bread
Pesto Sauce – Recipe Follows
Peppercorn Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1. Spread a thick layer of Pesto sauce on either side of the bread, then top one piece with the slice of Swiss cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan.
2. Put the sandwich together and spread the outside of the sandwich with a thin layer mayo, I used a pre-made Helmans mayo that came with spicy peppercorns already in it.
3. Then preheat your pan on a medium setting, not to hot, so that the sandwich won’t burn. Then slowly cook it, flipping it over twice for even browning.
4. Let the sandwich cool for a minute or two before cutting, to let the cheese set so it doesn’t run everywhere.
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe:
2 cups fresh Basil leaves packed
1/3 cup Pine Nuts
3 medium cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan – Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a food processor combine the basil and pine nuts, pulse a few times, until they begin to blend. Add garlic and pulse.
2. With the food processor on, slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream.
3. Open the food processor and scrape down the sides then add the grated cheese, and blend.
4 Add the salt and pepper, then blend until you get the desired consistency.
Once you’ve made your Pesto sauce it will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and you can use it as sauce in all sorts of recipes.