Back when we lived in Ann Arbor, we held an annual Oscars Party complete with a red carpet, fancy dress (UK style, meaning costumes), and lots of champagne. The first year, our last guest left at 4:30am (yes, on a Monday morning), we had to split the bottles for recycling over the following four weeks, and those who made it to work the next day went with raging hangovers.
The second year, we got wiser and moved it to Saturday night (which was fine, since no on watched the awards show anyway), set up our George Foreman grill and made grilled cheese sandwiches to soak up all the champagne.
Our dear friend, Bhavna, brought the ingredients to make grilled cheese the way she grew up eating them in India. OMG. A game changer! Think grilled cheese with Indian pesto. Our recipe is a riff on hers.
Oh, and we always bake our grilled cheese—that way no one is stuck at the stove and everyone can eat at the same time.
Shopping List & Prep (makes 4 sandwiches)
1 medium-large red onion, sliced into rings
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed (OK to leave on stems)
1/2 bag baby spinach
1" piece fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1fresh Serrano chili, seeds removed (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 TBSP raw peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 TBSP Masi Masa IndianTikka Masala Spice Blend
2 C white cheddar cheese, shredded
4 large slices sourdough bread or 8 smaller slices (our preference, but any hearty bread works)
1 TBSP neutral oil or ghee
6 tsp butter
Blend cilantro, spinach, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh chillies, peanuts (or sunflower seeds), lemon juice, and 1 TBSP water until you have a smooth, spreadable paste. Set aside.
In a medium fry pan, heat oil or ghee over medium-low heat.
Add the sliced red onion, stir to coat inoil, then stir in1 tsp Masi Masa Tikka Masala Spice Blend.
Cook, stirring occasionally until translucent/soft, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Lightly butter one side of 2 slices of bread, making sure to spread to edges.
Place buttered bread on a cookie sheet, butter side down. (We like to cover cookie sheet with parchment paper to make clean up easier.)
Spread 1 TBSP chutney on bread.
Top with 1/3-1/2 cup shredded cheese and a quarter of the Tikka Onions.
Place other pieces of bread on top, lightly butter tops.
Bake for 5 minutes then flip each sandwich over and bake for 5 minutes more. (Both sides of sandwich should be golden brown. If not, bake additional 1 minute at a time.
When we’re not making these to soak up champagne, we like to serve with our Simple Tomato Soup.