Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Fig Ketchup
Restaurant Marc Forgione, NYC and American Cut by Forgione at Revel, Atlantic City, NJ
Marc Forgione makes these gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with Pecorino Gregoriano, a raw sheep’s milk cheese from Abruzzo. You can find it at high-end grocers and cheese shops; you can also order it directly from its producer, Marcelli Formaggi. Brebirousse d'Argental, Hudson Red, Ardrahan, and Bellwether Farms Pepato are good substitutes.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh figs
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- Four 1/2-inch slices brioche
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Eight 1/4-inch slices Pecorino Gregoriano or another recommended cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
In a medium pot, toast the coriander and cumin over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, figs, rice wine vinegar, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Raise the heat to high and cook until the mixture reaches a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until it’s thick and jam-like, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the refrigerator for several hours.
Season the brioche on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 2 slices of the bread on the work surface, then layer 4 slices of cheese on each slice. Spread some fig ketchup on the other 2 slices of bread. Place the ketchup-topped slices, ketchup side down, on top of the cheese-topped slices to make the sandwiches.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches to the pan and grill until toasted and the cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Flip and toast the other side until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about another 2 minutes. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to grill the sandwiches one at a time.) Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
If you’re serving the sandwiches as a main course, place on plates and garnish with watercress. If you’re serving them as hors d’oeuvre, cut each sandwich into 4 pieces and garnish with watercress. Serve some fig ketchup on the side for dipping.
2 servings as a main course, or 8 as hors d’oeuvre