Grilled Cheese Bars with Tomato Soup Dip Recipe
Photo: Sean Olnowich
Sean Olnowich, executive chef at the New York sports lounge Bounce Sporting Club, puts caramelized onions in between layers of cheddar cheese for extra flavor. Make sure you slice the sandwich into finger-sized lengths, so they're easier to dunk.
For the soup:
- 1 can San Marzano whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved
- 1 Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 6 thyme sprigs, left whole
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 8 slices artisan country white or sourdough bread
- 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar, sliced
- 2 Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
- 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (half will be used in the soup)
- 1 Tbsp. thyme, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. marjoram, chopped
- A few tablespoons of butter
- A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
Preheat oven to 275°F.
In a bowl, toss halved plum tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and the chopped fresh herbs. Place on a pan lined with parchment paper with the flesh side up and roast for 4 hours.
Make the soup: In a medium saucepan, sweat 1 onion until soft and add garlic cloves for another minute. Add the chopped canned tomatoes and juice, chicken stock, whole thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer the soup to a blender. Blend on high speed and add half of the roasted tomatoes and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Make the sandwiches: Preheat oven to 400°F. In a sauté pan over low heat, add 1 Tbsp. canola oil and add 2 sliced onions; slowly sweat the onions until they are very soft and translucent, then raise the heat to medium, stirring the onions until the natural sugars caramelize and they are a light to medium caramel color.
Lay out 4 slices of bread and add 1 slice of cheese, topped with a spoonful of onions and chopped roasted tomatoes spread out. Season with salt and pepper and add another slice of cheddar and top with the bread.
In a sauté pan over low to medium heat, add the butter until melted, add the sandwiches to the pan and cook 3 minutes on each side.
Place in the oven for 3 more minutes to make sure the cheese is melted through.
Cut the sandwiches to four bars each and serve alongside the tomato soup dip.
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