For those unfamiliar with 5th Annual Toad&C0 Grilled Cheese Smackdown, it's the biggest cooking competition west of Paris and it happens at Toad HQ. With competitors prepping and practicing grilled cheese creations for weeks before the competition, it's the finest iteration of bread and cheese in the known universe. With so many delicious sandwiches premiering at the Grilled Cheese Smackdown, we couldn’t keep all of the cheesy goodness to ourselves. This year's top honors went to Visit Santa Barbara's Fromage de la Riviera. Fun fact about the name, ToadHQ is located in the Riviera neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Way to know your audience, Natalie and Danielle! Aside from an aesthetic masterpiece, Danielle and Natalie’s sandwich packed a serious punch of flavor. Who knew a mix of caramelized onions and mushrooms could be so tasty? Top it off with gruyere and swiss cheeses and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Permission to share winning recipes is rarely given (ok, not really), so take advantage and make yourself a Golden-Spatula worthy grilled cheese!
Fromage de la Riviera by Visit Santa BarbaraIngredients for 2 sandwiches: 2 medium yellow onions, sliced thin (about ¼”) ½ cup of butter, softened and room temp 1/2 up of white wine 1 small package of mushrooms, sliced 2.5 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded 2.5 oz. swiss cheese, shredded 4 slices of local sourdough bread Salt and pepper Parsley Rosemary for garnish, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and toss in sliced onions. Stir onions until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread onions in an even layer, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Stir every 5 or so minutes. Continue until onions are nicely caramelized, about 25 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high, add about 3 tablespoons of wine to deglaze the pan, and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Once all the liquid has absorbed, about 1-2 minutes, turn off heat and let onions sit.
- In separate saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium/low heat. Add 2 garlic cloves (chopped) to pan and sauté for about 1 minute (Don't let garlic brown!)
- Add sliced mushrooms to pan and stir to coat with butter/garlic.
- Add about a 1/3 cup of white wine (a splash) and bring mushrooms to boil then reduce heat to simmer and cover. When wine has almost absorbed, remove lid and add chopped parsley for color and flavor.
- Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper then set aside.