By Rose McAvoy
What caught your eye? Was it the cheese, spinach, avocado, or all of the above? Whichever ingredient grabbed you, I am betting you are already imagining tucking in to this sandwich very soon. The smell of the bread toasting in the pan wraps around the kitchen like a woolly blanket. Once cut into cute little triangle you can see all of the warm creamy layers. Each bite of toasty goodness crackles sending a sprinkling of crumbs onto your plate. It is a whole lot to love in a humble package.
On a pale grey Saturday when fall had not yet become winter. Mr. Second Helpings, outfitted in his garage-clothes, was patiently letting The Little Helping “assist” with the installation of our cars’ snow tires. While they labored I stayed tucked inside enjoying the calm. Left to my own devices I read a little, wrote a little, and eavesdropped, tickled by the serious technical conversation taking place in the driveway.
Throughout the morning a fragrant soup simmered on the stovetop. Knowing how hard the boys were working I decided that they were entitled to more than the contents of the steaming pot. I had a good rummage around in the kitchen. The counters were piled high with creamy goats cheese, some shredded colby-jack, nutty spinach, sweet honey mustard vinaigrette, and a perfectly ripe avocado. Shortly before calling the pit crew in for lunch, I crafted these sandwiches.
Grilled cheese with spinach and avocadoWith three cheeses and slices of creamy avocado this sandwich is an indulgent treat. Half of one of these toasty goodies nestled up to a steaming bowl of soup should make any diner very happy. Make these using your favorite method of crafting a grilled cheese sandwich or follow the instructions provided below.
Yield 2 full sandwiches; Serves 2 -4
• 4 slices of hearty multigrain sandwich bread (pictured: Dave’s Killer Bread)
• 1/2 medium avocado
• 1/2 ounce (approximately 1/4 cup) Colby-Jack cheese, finely shredded
• 1/2 cup baby spinach, washed, dried, and long stems removed
• sprinkle of honey mustard vinaigrette salad dressing
• 1 ounce (approximately 2 tablespoons) Chèvre goat’s cheese, crumbled
• Olive oil mister or Non-stick spray
Work on a large cutting board or work surface. Divide the ingredients between the two sandwiches to build the sandwiches.
1. On one half of each sandwich arrange the avocado slices, about 4 or 5 per sandwich. Then sprinkle over the shredded cheese, carefully layer on the spinach leaves and sprinkle on a bit of vinaigrette. Evenly cover the remaining slices of bread with the goat’s cheese. Use a knife to gently press the crumbled cheese into the bread. Carefully place the bread cheese side down over the spinach side. Tuck any runaway ingredients back into the sandwich.
2. On the stove top: Heat a grill pan or wide flat skillet to medium heat. Once the pan is warm, coat the bottom of the pan with a few sprays of olive oil or non-stick spray. Gently place one, or if space allows, both sandwiches in the warm pan. If possible set a pot lid or sauce pan on the sandwiches to press them gently. Pressing the sandwiches helps them get more evenly toasted. Covering the sandwiches also helps them warm through the centers more evenly. Check frequently to prevent burning. After about 5 minutes they should be toasted to medium brown and ready to flip.
3. Spray the not yet toasted top of each sandwich with a few sprays of oil or non-stick spray. Use a wide pancake flipper to turn the sandwiches over in the pan. At this point the spinach should be partly wilted and the cheese should have begun to melt so the sandwich should hold together while you flip them. Replace the lid or pan on the sandwiches and toast for another 3 – 4 minutes. Continue to check the progress frequently to avoid burning the bread.
Cut diagonally into quarters and serve hot.
Sandwich filling per 1/2 sandwich: calories 150, fat 12.5 g., carbohydrates 4.3 g., fiber 2 g., protein 6.3 g, PP = 4