My love for the first two seasons of Gossip Girl runs super deep. I watched the pilot live when I was starting my senior year of high school, and I remember this "grilled cheese with truffle oil" moment because I was largely unaware of what truffles were at the time (ha!). Of course, I knew it was fancy because it was Chuck and Serena and they were in The Palace, but then Chuck tried to use off-the-menu fancy grilled cheese as currency for sex and things were turned up to 100 immediately. After the pilot, they changed a bunch of things (like Chuck taking a limo everywhere instead of THE BUS (?!?!?!)), namely that he stopped being a sexual predator because...problems. Soon after the episode aired, the restaurant The Palace started offering truffle grilled cheese as a menu item for something like 15 dollars (or 30 for a soup pairing). I've always wanted to make one of my own, but the pressure honestly made me nervous. Grilled cheese is pretty basic, but this had stakes and I wanted it to taste extra special. Plus I have a bad habit of completely burning bread when I make grilled cheese. I added some extra flavors like crispy onions, used four cheeses and did A LOT of research on how to not completely burn the bread when melting the cheese. This came out delicious, flavorful, crunchy and cheesy on the first try. I may have teared up. xoxo....
My mom gave me this little jar of truffle butter after she had bought and used one herself. Sadly, this was the first thing I thought to use it on, and since I wanted to save it for something special and it fit the idea of this dish perfectly, I finally got to break it out.
Full disclosure. Here, I was trying to caramelize onions (The Kitchn has a super detailed tutorial), and there are a handful of reasons why they ended up crisping up and looking burnt instead. I decided to taste them before I chucked them, discouraged, and they actually still tasted sweet and amazing with a great texture, so they were still in the game, with a slight detour.
I kind of butchered cutting this cheese (ha ha on two levels) BUT it ended up working out for the better. Stay tuned...
Four-cheese truffle grilled cheese with crispy onions
inspired by Gossip Girl season 1, episode 1
makes one sandwich
- two slices crunchy, sturdy bread (slightly stale is okay!)
- once thin slice each cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella and fontina cheese
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 2 tbsp butter, divided (soften 1)
- 1 clove garlic, microplaned
- 1-2 tbsp truffle butter (or mix another 1tbsp softened butter with a couple drops of truffle oil)
- pinch salt
Caramelize onions (or only cook them for 15 minutes until they're crispy and burnt looking) using the tutorial I mentioned. Remove from heat and salt, then set aside.
Combine softened butter and garlic until well mixed. If you are making truffle butter, do this now, too. Butter bread on both sides. Use the garlic butter for the outside of the bread and the truffle butter inside.
Place garlic butter-side bread down in a skillet. Add cheese. You can just stack the slices, but this is where I realized my sad slice pieces worked well. I placed the different types of cheese like patchwork across the slices of bread so the flavors would be mixed well. The cheese shouldn't be too thick or else it won't melt completely.
Cover the bread in the pan using a pot lid or something similar, and turn on heat to medium-low. Be patient. If you're worried about the amount of time it's taking for the cheese to melt, turn the heat to low so the bread doesn't burn. You can check the bread part of the way through to make sure you're good to go. Once the cheese is melty and gooey, remove the cover and immediately add onions to one slice. Place other slice on top and smash them together so the cheese can all melt together deliciously. Remove from pan and enjoy! If you want to see a satisfying cheese bridge, cut it in half and pull away!