Pretzel Grilled Cheese With Tomato-Basil Jam
4 soft pretzels, preferably oblong Philadelphia-style pretzels
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces chevre
1/2 cup Tomato-Basil Jam (see recipe)
3 1/2 ounces cold taleggio cheese, thinly sliced
3 1/2 ounces Italian fontina, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Slice the pretzels in half; spread cut sides with butter. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in two batches, toast the pretzels in the hot skillet, buttered-side down, until golden and crusty, about 5 minutes.
3. Spread toasted bottom half of each pretzel with goat cheese; top with taleggio and fontina. Spread toasted top half with Tomato-Basil Jam. Sandwich the pretzel halves.
4. Heat the skillet over medium-low. Put two sandwiches in the skillet; place another heavy skillet on top to weight them, griddling the crust and melting the cheese, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook other side until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes more. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
Makes about 2 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
10 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1. Heat a medium Dutch oven or another heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Using the coarsest side of a box grater, grate tomato flesh into a large bowl until just the tomato skin remains. Discard skins.
3. Stir garlic into the onions; cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and tomato paste; cook, stirring often, until color deepens to rusty red, about 2 minutes. Stir in grated tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and salt. Increase heat to high, bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally. After 20 to 25 minutes, when mixture thickens and begins to spatter, reduce heat further. Continue to cook, stirring often, until reduced to a quarter of the original volume, with a jamlike consistency, 35 to 45 minutes more.
4. Take off heat, and stir in basil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve jam hot, or transfer it to a pint-size glass canning jar or another sealable container. Jam will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 week.
-- Andrea Slonecker, "Pretzel Making at Home" (Chronicle Books, $16.95, 128 pages)