This is definitely a gourmet grilled cheese. Since there are lots of pecans for me to work with, and now we have loads of basil, I decided to make a pesto butter for our grilled cheese sandwiches. You could definitely use your own recipe for pesto – different nuts, different herbs, no butter, add avocado or mayonnaise, or you could use a store bought pesto, but homemade is so much better. I made it thick, since I used it as a spread and not a sauce.
Grilled Cheese with Pesto
- 1½ cups packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped roughly
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- ½ cup lightly toasted pecans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup pecan oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 8 slices whole grain or sourdough bread
- Smoked cheddar (I used Tillamook) 1-2 ounces per sandwich
- Butter, room temperature
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first 4 ingredients well.
- Add cheese and pecans, and process. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed, and continue processing.
- Add butter, and process. While the processor is running, drizzle in the oil. Add just enough to make a spread instead of a sauce.
- Add salt and pepper. Process, and then taste for seasoning.
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients well. Set aside
- Lay 2 pieces of bread flat. Generously smear one piece of bread with pesto, and generously smear the other piece with sriracha cream. Lay cheese on top of pesto. Place the sriracha cream side on top of cheese.
- Smear one side of sandwich with butter.
- Place in heated skillet. Brown or toast the way you like it.
- Smear butter on top side of sandwich, and flip. Brown and cook until cheese melts.