Only once previously have I attempted a Fourth of July grilled cheese themed sandwich and it was a Red, White & Blue success. It was creative and unique and I hoped to recreate that success with a new and intriguing grilled cheese this year. I was thinking of going the red, white and blue color route again but I had already done it. Then, I began thinking about traditionally American foods, such as apple pie and American events, such as baseball. Eventually, that lead me to my main ingredient for this Fourth of July grilled cheese sandwich.
- Honey Whole Wheat
- The Original Cracker Jack
- Firecracker Mayo
- Genuine Pecorino Romano Fulvi
the cheese: genuine pecorino romano fulvi
Although Pecorino Romano originated in the countryside outside of Rome, all are made in Sardinia today, except one: Fulvi. This is why it is referred to as “genuine” Pecorino Romano. Sheep milk from the Lazio region goes to dairies in the village of Nepi, where, according to ancient recipe, it is handmade into giant, 65-pound wheels. Pungent and pleasantly briny, it seems to melt on the tongue. Since it is far less hard and dry than Sardinian Pecorinos, when it is grated onto hot food, the slivers blend, but do not disappear. (Zabars.com)
After checking out the entire cheese department at my local Whole Foods, I ended up with Pecorino Romano cheese. A lot of the cheeses I liked seemed to be too strong and overwhelming while this seemed to have the perfect amount of creaminess and bite. The plan was to make sure the sandwich had a kick/some heat and this cheese definitely complimented the overall flavor. It was a great choice.
the ingredient: cracker jacks and firecracker mayo
Once I decided that I didn’t want to simply go the red, white and blue route, I (and the sous chef) started thinking about American things, such as baseball. And then, of course, we started singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game (original lyrics – must listen).
Once you start talking Take Me Out to the Ball Game, you automatically start talking about The Original Cracker Jack. From there, I started thinking about how I could include The Original Cracker Jack in a grilled cheese and my mind was off.
I simply blended a handful or two of Cracker Jacks, depending on how many sandwiches you are making, until there were all sizes of pieces. Set those aside.
Firecrackers are a big part of the Fourth of July so why not make a firecracker mayonnaise made with freshly planted/harvested cayenne peppers (from my own garden)? At first, I only used one pepper but the heat just wasn’t there so I added another . The heat may have been limited from the cayenne peppers as I might have picked them prematurely. Please keep that in mind when making your own firecracker mayo.
And then I added crushed red pepper. And more crushed red pepper. I was calling this firecracker mayo so I wanted to make sure the heat/kick was evident. Add as much (or little) of peppers depending on how much heat you enjoy. In addition to the multiple peppers, I added a squirt of fresh lemon juice and some chopped green onions. This mayonnaise was delicious in the sandwich as well as a dip with potato chips.
the bread: honey whole wheat
Obviously, I like bread. I do not discriminate in the least. With the honey whole wheat, we just happened to have it at home so I went with it and it turned out to be a great choice.
This sandwich is built on The Original Cracker Jack. On the surface, that just sounds absurd and possibly even a little gross. However, once you dig down and actually give this sandwich a chance, you will quickly realize how amazing the flavor and texture is. The heat brought by the firecracker mayo contrasts greatly with the sweet flavor and crunch of the cracker jacks. Add a cheese with a little of bite, Genuine Pecorino Romano Fulvi, and you have yourself one amazing grilled cheese sandwich. I was thoroughly surprised by how good this sandwich was and I suggest you try it yourself to see how awesome it is.
Oh and Happy 4th of July to all. Be safe and have fun!