Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Rye Sourdough Grilled Cheese with Olives & Capers

I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to see that this grilled cheese is going to blow your mind. I’m taking the usual formula, cheese+bread+heat, and adding a couple of little extras that I think you’re going to adore. By using a rye sourdough instead of your standard white, this adds a supreme crunchiness on the exterior of the sandwich, a brilliant sturdiness to keep your toastie from flopping (no one likes a floppy toastie) and an intense, nutty rye flavour that adds beautifully to the flavour combination of your masterpiece. You can see how the edges have crisped up into a golden crunch, and the centre of the rye bread remains soft and gooey. It is just as much about texture as it is about flavour. 

The other additions are capers, olives and a pinch of spice. You may be used to having pickles in your grilled cheese or toastie – it cuts through the cheese and adds a layer of zing to some very rich and intense flavours – in which case you will welcome the capers and the olives, if not, you are in for such a treat. Not only do we get that zing and the extra flavour from the olives and capers, but you also get to bite down on little bursting pockets of saltiness, adding an amazing texture and extra layer of wonderment to your grilled cheese. 
I know today is pancake day and that I am a little outside the box making grilled cheese toasties, but just in case you’re bored of pancakes, want an alternative, or are so cooked out by supper time that you want something quick, easy and cheesy – then this will do you perfectly. You know what else this would be good for? Valentines day: the day that gives you an excuse to eat whatever you want in the name of love. Just imagine this melting pile of deliciousness for your Valentines Sunday Brunch. Make your loved one a toastie. When I say ‘loved one’ here, I mean you. Make yourself a toastie. If you’re feeling generous, maybe make two. 

As I am lucky enough to work at a bakery, I have access to the most wonderful artisan breads including the organic 100% rye sourdough as used in this here recipe. If you’re wondering where to pick some up, go to your nearest Farmers Market, Wholefoods or deli and have a look (butchers also often have a good selection). If you can’t find 100% rye sourdough, go for a wheat and rye sourdough such as this one. The reason I choose sourdough is it gives your bread a flavour and a structure that is unbeatable for grilled cheese. Also, by choosing natural, artisan bread (preferably organic) from a farmers market or an artisan bakery, you can guarantee that your bread is not filled with hidden nasties and will be made with only about 3 ingredients – rye flour, water & salt. It’s alright to be a bit more indulgent sometimes when you know where your food is coming from and what's in it. 

In London especially, we're lucky enough to have an abundance of amazing bakeries as well as access to wonderfully fresh, natural ingredients. If you're passing through London and fancy a rye sourdough, pick one up at Sourced Market on your way through St Pancras International station.

Rye sourdough grilled cheese with olives & capers


Kitchen stuff: large non stick frying pan, preferably cast iron, mixing bowl & a large spatula

Quantities: 2 large toasties 

Timings: 15 mins

70g Red Leicester cheese, grated
60g Gruyere cheese, grated
50g Mozzarella cheese, torn into little shreds
25g little capers (about 1 heaped tbsp)
5 or 6 black or kalamata olives, roughly chopped
4 large 1cm thick slices 100% rye sourdough (or wheat & rye sourdough)
Black pepper, a few twists
One pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes, just a touch.
15g / 1tbsp butter


1. CHEESE GROMIT: Grate your cheese, tear your mozzarella and mix it all with the capers, olives, black pepper and a pinch of chili in a mixing bowl. You won’t need salt as the cheese, capers and olives are very salty.

2. BUTTER & RYE: Heat your saucepan over a med-high heat and add the knob of butter. Lightly butter one side of each slice of rye, this will be the outside of the sandwich. When the butter is melted, put two buttered sides of rye each face-down in the frying pan. Pile the cheese/capers mixture evenly onto each slice then top with the remaining rye slice, buttered side up.
3. I’M MELTING: Lightly press your spatula on top of the sandwiches, pressing it down into the pan as the cheese melts. The cheese will spill out and cause crispy pools in the frying pan, don’t worry this only adds to the deliciousness. When the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt in the middle, carefully flip your grilled cheese sandwiches over. 

Continue to fry, pressing with your spatula, until the bottom is also golden brown and the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.