Honestly, this comes across as far more upscale-sounding when I write it out than it actually was. In reality it was eaten in my Pepto-pink polka dot flannel PJ pants in the middle of the day after coming home from the sloppy, rainy dog park, and as you can see, I was impatient and totally burnt it. And I may have dropped a chunk of mine, and it may have landed goo-side down, and I may have called Lou over to lick it up. Grilled pears and brie are not our post-dog park norm, but there were leftovers to use up. Leftovers are great, aren’t they? Especially when they’re wedges of brie and chewy naan, which I really needed to get out of the freezer – much more badly than the frozen edamame and cauliflower soup. (Wanna see what else is in my fridge? And how I dress when I haven’t showered in two days? Take a peek.)
The leftovers are from last week. I held out on you – or more accurately the days slid by and I didn’t manage to keep you in the loop – a week ago I got to go hang out with my pal Paul (Rogalski) at Rouge (a few blocks away, it was recently named #60 in the top 100 restaurants in the world), which is co-owned by Paul and Olivier Reynaud. It’s a fantastic spot, in the former home of one of A.E. Cross, one of the Big Four, with a stunning backyard half filled with an organic kitchen garden and surrounded by high hedges, that takes over 6 city lots.
So last week – wait, the week before that – Paul was in Toronto at a grilled cheese-off. The Dairy Farmers of Canada brought a bunch of chefs together from across the country to come up with new ways to make a grilled cheese sandwich. A worthy mission if I ever heard one.
So Paul went, and came up with two recipes, but the other I’m saving for a special occasion – one that calls for meat, cheese, butter, garlic and caramelized onions. And when he came back he needed a little help with a bunch of media appearances, so I was his grilled cheese wingman.
(No, that’s not me. Sigh.)
This particular masterpiece is built on naan instead of regular sandwich bread – brilliant, no? He stirs curry powder into butter to spread on the outside, although it was so chilly our butter was less than spreadable, so instead he melted the butter in the skillet and sprinkled it with curry. Easy. You don’t really need a recipe – just slice brie and pears (I don’t bother peeling them) and go ahead and make a grilled cheese sandwich on naan spread with mango chutney. With curry in the pan. This would be great served in small wedges with wine at a cocktail party, if you do want to swank it up a bit.
Curry Me Brie
By Chef Paul Rogalski
½ cup (125 mL) butter, room temperature
2 tsp (10 mL) mild curry powder
4 slices naan bread
4 tbsp (60 mL) mango chutney
6 oz (170 g) Canadian Brie, thinly sliced while chilled; discard the end cuts that contain the most rind
1 ripe pear skinned, seeded, and thinly sliced
In a small bowl mix butter and curry powder together. Spread on one side of two slices of the naan bread. Place one naan butter side down in a large non-stick skillet or panini press.
Spread 2 tbsp mango chutney and place half the sliced Brie, then half the sliced pear on naan. Cover with the second naan, butter side up. Cook first side over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Using a spatula, flip carefully. Continue cooking on the second side for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Wipe skillet with a paper towel and repeat instructions for the second sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half and serve. Serves 4.
Paul’s and the other chef’s grilled cheese recipes -and photos- can be found here.