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Apr 21, 2012 11:39 AM

Recipes from Artisanal Bistro's Grilled Cheese Contest

I was thrilled that a sandwich I created was named a finalist in Artisanal Bistro's (NYC) recent Grilled Cheese contest. While my entry, Three Cheese Crisp Sandwich, was not the overall winner, the judges had very good things to say about it and it is something I'm proud of. So, I'll share the recipe with my fellow hounds. Just being a finalist was absolutely wonderful. I had a great time. The contestants were terrific, congratulations to Lizz Spano the winner.

More about the contest on the CH Manhattan board:

Links to the winning sandwich recipe "Drunken" Raclette Grilled Cheese," and recipes from the other sandwich finalists including mine:

The Three Cheese Crisp is on Sourdough Bread and contains Fontina and Gruyere cheeses with a layer of Parmesan Crisps in between. It's grilled in fresh rosemary infused butter.

I'm a purist. To me, a Grilled Cheese is all about the cheese. Other additions however, are certainly tasty. My friend Steve loves to add bacon to my sandwich and my husband adds less soft cheese and four Parmesan Crisps to his. Whatever works! Make it how you like it! My recipe has exact amounts (as required by the contest rules) but add less or more cheese to your taste and to accommodate the size of your bread. One thing not to skimp on: To make the Parmesan Crisps you need to use good quality imported Italian Parmigiano Reggiano. Domestic without a rind or the stuff in the "Green Can" will not work! They don't crisp.

In the next two posts underneath I will post the sandwich recipe in two parts. Part one is the Parmesan Crisps and Part two is the sandwich recipe. Please enjoy!

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  1. Parmesan Crisps

    These can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to use. This recipe will make more crisps than needed for a sandwich. The extras are for the cook!


    8 tablespoons fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Italian, imported) , grated on the large holes of a box grater.


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Line a rectangular baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
    3. Place a 2 ½-inch biscuit/cookie-cutter on the mat at least one inch from the top and side of the pan, and sprinkle one tablespoon of cheese evenly into the mold. Remove mold and repeat with remaining cheese, spacing cheese mounds at least one-inch apart from each other and the sides of the pan.
    4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese crisps start to turn golden brown.
    5. Remove from oven and let set a minute, then remove crisps and place on cooling rack until cool. Yield 8 crisps.

    1. Three-Cheese Crisp Sandwich

      Ingredients for one grilled cheese sandwich:

      2 slices sourdough bread, ½ inch thick
      2 ounces Fontina cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
      2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
      2 Parmesan Crisps (See recipe above)
      1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
      ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped


      1. In a small bowl combine butter and rosemary.
      2. Spread half the rosemary butter on outside of one slice of bread.
      3. On the unbuttered side, sprinkle with the grated Fontina cheese. Cover with two Parmesan Crisps, then sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese.
      4. Top with second slice of bread, spread the top with the remaining rosemary butter.
      5. Place sandwich in a non-stick frying pan over medium/medium high heat. Place a 9-ounce cook’s press weight (or something similar) on top and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Remove weight and flip, placing weight on top again, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until that side is golden brown.
      6. Remove from pan, cut sandwich in half and garnish with a Parmesan Crisp.

      7 Replies
      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        This looks so good - can't wait to try it! Thanks for posting this.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Thanks chowmeow,

          About the weight on top - you can also just flatten it down with a small flat lid or a spatula.

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            Just made the sandwich - wow! I loved the flavor combination of the 3 cheeses. The cheese crisp is a stroke of genius. A sophisticated recipe that was also easy to make. You def. would have gotten my vote.

            1. re: chowmeow

              Chowmeow, so glad you took the time to make it and enjoyed it! I'm doing a Grilled Cheese cooking demo next week at a local Farmers Market, I hope others like it as well!!

          2. re: TrishUntrapped

            Thanks! I am totally making this for my mother when she visits later this month. She is a grilled cheese fanatic and will totally appreciate this.

            1. re: cheesymama

              Thank you Roxlet! Let me know what she thinks!

          3. This is the contest's winning recipe, now being offered on Artisanal's menu:

            "Drunken" Raclette Grilled Cheese

            2 slices of 1/4 inch thick Peasant Bread
            3 oz French Raclette, sliced
            1 smashed red potato (recipe to follow)
            1.5 oz Whiskey Caramelized Onions (recipe to follow)
            6 cornichon, sliced in half
            1/2 tbsp butter
            Aluminum foil for tenting
            Dijon Mustard (optional)

            Directions: Heat a nonstick griddle on medium heat for 5 minutes. Butter both slices of bread and place butter side down on the griddle. Add the slices of Raclette on open sides of bread and cover the griddle with a tented piece of foil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has started to melt. Remove the foil and add the smashed potato to one side of bread and caramelized onions to the other. Distribute cornichon among both sides of bread. Using a spatula, close the sandwich and continue to grill until the cheese is completely melted and the bread has toasted. Serve immediately with a dollop of grainy, dijon mustard if desired.

            Whiskey Caramelized Onions
            1 tbsp butter
            2 tablespoons olive oil
            2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
            6 tablespoons Irish whiskey
            Generous pinch of salt

            Directions: In a large skillet melt butter and olive oil. Add sliced onions and a large pinch of salt. Stir to coat onions with oil and butter and allow to cook for 5- 10 minutes or until the onions start to brown. Add whiskey and stir to incorporate. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until the alcohol flavor has dissipated onions are well caramelized with little moisture in the pan.

            Smashed Potato
            1 red potato
            Olive oil

            Directions: Boil the potato until fork tender. Remove potato and transfer to a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Use a potato masher to smash the potato and season with salt pepper and olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until the potato is browned and crisped.

            1. Grilled Cheese Contest follow up story in today's Danbury News TImes. Really nice and appreciated comments from Alyssa Shelasky of Grub Street/New York Magazine.


              1. your directions are as clear as can be. especially about what size of grater hole to use! I read the article, also. I have to add that you have a strong stomach to have gone into this competition because I'm not so sure that I could do it. That's a tough environment for something as personal as food but you really did well!