A French classic served American grilled-cheese style on Italian bread. Why would I do such a thing? Well, for starters it’s Bastille Day. Though admittedly Bastille Day doesn’t have quite the same pull in North America as Independence Day or Canada Day. Still, they all have one thing in common and that’s the season they’re celebrated – summer. I’ve included Italy in this celebration though Italy’s Republic Day is technically celebrated in late spring. Springtime can be so warm in Italy it often feels like summer. To celebrate these holidays I’ve decided to serve an All-American, on-the-grill grilled cheese sandwich because sandwiches are one of my favorite summer foods. Even when they’re called paninis. Chicken Cordon Bleu Grilled Cheese Panini.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Grilled Cheese Panini
Because it’s summer I’ve chosen to grill these sandwiches on an outside charcoal grill. You could certainly make this Chicken Cordon Bleu Grilled Cheese Panini in a panini press of even on the stove top. However, I want to discuss the particular challenges of using live fire to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Because of its name you’d think a Grilled Cheese Sandwich would be a natural partner to an outdoor grill. But making a Grilled Cheese Sandwich on the grill can be tricky. It’s easy to end up with grilled cheese ashes.
Though I said it was “tricky” it’s really not too tricky because there’s really only one trick to learn: Heating Zones.
An essential concept an outdoor cook needs to understand is the importance of temperature control and how to use a two-zone setup with direct heat and indirect heat areas.
Look at your grill and try to visualize how this might work because every grill is different. Your goal is an indirect heat zone with a temperature around 225°F and a much higher heat live fire zone that acts as the furnace for the indirect heat zone. To achieve this on a charcoal grill push the coals to one side. On a gas grill turn off all the burners except one or two. When it comes time for grilling all you need to do is move the food around the grill to control the temperature at which it cooks. In the case of this Chicken Cordon Bleu Grilled Cheese Panini, you can get the cheese melted and the bread toasted with nothing more than these two zones and a watchful eye. GREG