April is National Grilled Cheese Month (in the U.S.), and what better way to celebrate than to eat your way through a grilled cheese competition?
This past weekend, I judged the Good Food Festival‘s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Competition, along with fellow grilled-cheese enthusiasts, Food Network‘s Corbin Tomaszeski and Cheesewerk‘s Kevin Durkee. Over 100 hopefuls submitted their best grilled cheese recipes, and the top three finalists battled it out onstage to present their sandwich to the audience and judges.
The winner emerged as Chris Pires, owner of Food Inspires Catering. His Indian-Canadian fusion grilled cheese sandwich had the judges drooling and reaching for seconds. (Corbin even exclaimed that the maple-bacon combo made it a man’s ideal sandwich – take note, ladies!) 2nd place went to a very creative cheese-based grilled ice cream sandwich, and 3rd place to a Tex-mex style grilled cheese.
Check out Chris’ winning grilled cheese recipe below, and visit Toronto’s Cheesewerks this weekend where they’ll be serving up Chris’ creation!
Photo credit: Chris Pires
Chris’ Indo-Canadian Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
½ tsp hot-red-chili-flakes
4 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup goat cheese, at room temperature
1 Naan or Bhattura (Indian-style flat breads)
3 slices cooked peameal bacon
PREHEAT oven to 400F.
HEAT oil in a frying pan over medium. Add onion. Cook until onions are caramelized, about 15 min. Season with salt, pepper and hot-red-chili-flakes. Stir in 3 tbsp maple syrup.
STIR goat cheese with remaining 1 tbsp maple syrup. Cut flat bread in half. Spread the goat cheese on both sides of the flatbread. Lay the peameal bacon on top of the goat cheese on one-half of the flat bread. Layer maple-caramelized onions over bacon, then top with remaining half of the flat bread. Press down lightly. Place on a baking sheet.
BAKE in centre of oven for 5 min. Flip the sandwich over, and bake until golden-brown, about 5 more min. Cut into wedges and serve with strawberries. (Chris insists they are the perfect compliment!)
MAKES 1 SERVING.
Try some of our other grilled cheese sandwiches this month: