yumyumyum, is all I have to say about that.
So, the fun part of this story is that this was Beck’s gateway sandwich, and what a freakin way to go, right? She’s still just barely interested in any foods that are mixed, still eats pretty plain things separated by miles of plate space, emphasis on pasta and berries. I’m trying to ease her into the idea of eating whatever I put in front of her, though, with fewer options at each meal. One way I’ve found that she’s much more agreeable to trying ANYTHING new is to have her help me make it. We got a Tripp Trapp a few weeks ago and it’s been used mainly as a kitchen stool; she’s fully obsessed with being able to see what is happening and test out little bits of things as we cook.
These were a weekday lunch inspiration based on a random bag of frozen artichokes from Trader Joe’s and some cute thin-sliced sourdough that I wanted to use. Provolone and garlicky spinach rounded everything out, and local butter crisped everything up. I used pretty small pieces of bread in these (about 5 inches corner-to-corner) because there’s a good amount of cheese in these, but you can use any bread and melty white cheese you want!
These grilled cheeses are a teeny bit time consuming because you grill the artichokes and wilt the spinach first, but I did them all in the same skillet to save on dishes and they only take about five minutes apiece. Then it’s butter/bread/cheese/grill, and lunch is done in half an hour or so.
You need! Butter, bread, and cheese, of course. Salt and pepper, fresh spinach, garlic, and artichokes. Canned or frozen are great, just not marinated, and pat any artichokes you use dry before you sear them in the skillet.
Start by heating a skillet to medium-high heat with a little bit of butter. We’ll use the same skillet for the artichokes, spinach, and sandwiches. When the skillet is hot, add the artichokes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper in one layer and let them sizzle for about 3 minutes. When the artichokes are brown on one side, flip them to brown a bit more, then remove them from the skillet to rest.
Turn the heat on the skillet down to medium-low, and add another pat of butter to the skillet. Add the spinach and a minced garlic clove with another sprinkle of salt. Use tongs to toss the spinach and let it wilt; this will take two minutes or so. Like with the artichokes, remove the spinach to a plate to rest.
Now, sandwiches! The pan should be warm but not terribly hot at this point so we have time to melt the cheese without burning the bread. Add another pat of butter to the skillet, then place bread slices in the butter. Top the bread with a piece of cheese and a thin layer each of the spinach and artichokes. Add another layer of cheese, then another piece of bread, and press down gently to help the sandwiches hold together.
Cook the sandwiches for about 4 minutes on the first side until the bread starts to toast and the cheese melts slightly. Carefully flip the sandwiches, then continue cooking until the cheese is super melty and the bread is golden.
If there was ever a time to perfect your grilled cheese technique, this would definitely be it. These are a treat for us; we don’t eat sandwiches all that much in general, but these are SO worth it and fun for a mid-week pick-me-up.
Eat without delay while the cheese is so gooey.
You will LOVE these. They’re so good, include vegetables, and you could totally make the spinach and artichoke components in advance if you were organized, then just build the sandwiches when you want to eat. Maybe add a side salad.
- 8 thin slices sourdough bread
- softened butter
- 4 ounces frozen or jarred artichokes (not marinated), drained
- salt and pepper
- 5 ounces fresh spinach
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 8 thin slices provolone cheese
Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat with a pat of butter. When the skillet is very hot, add the artichokes in one layer with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let the artichokes char for about 3 minutes, then flip them and cook for two minutes more until browned. Remove to a plate and reduce the heat on the skillet to medium-low.
Add another pat of butter to the skillet, then add the spinach, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use tongs to toss the spinach for about 2 minutes until wilted. Remove from the skillet to rest.
In the same skillet, add another pat of butter and place 2-4 bread slices into the skillet (you may need to make the grilled cheeses in two batches). Top each slice of bread with a slice of cheese and a thin layer of spinach and artichokes, using the ingredients evenly between the sandwiches. Top the veggies with another piece of cheese and a piece of bread to finish building the sandwiches. Use a spatula to press the sandwiches together.
Cook the grilled cheeses for about 4 minutes on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. If needed, add another bit of butter to the skillet when you flip the sandwiches.
Serve hot. Enjoy!