My friends and I did a lot of hilarious, albeit weird, things in high school.
Dying bright red and purple streaks in our hair (one of us dated an emo/rock band member for a bit…) driving around with the pizza man’s delivery light on top of our car, playing Mario Cart in our sweatpants for hours, and holding regular meetings for our beef & cheese nacho, banana cream pie and lampshade hat club, all come to mind.
Anyways, if we weren’t up to no good, we were usually out to eat. That’s the advantage of having a killer teenage metabolism and dancing nearly every day of the week, I suppose. You can eat all the crappy food you want, and never gain a pound!
Oh to be young…
One of our favorite restaurants to hit up was TGI Friday’s. I swear at one point, we were going nearly 3 times a week. My friend’s brother worked there and always drizzled extra chocolate and caramel sauce on our Oreo Madness for us.
For my meal I’d always order the same thing every time. Kid’s Chicken Fingers with honey mustard and a piping hot cup of cheesy, French Onion Soup.
It was this cup of soup I was thinking of when I decided to combine its rich beefy flavor with sweet, caramelized onions, then top it with creamy cheese and press it all between two slices of buttered bread.
It’s the absolute best of both worlds, people. Savory soup and crispy panini combine to make: French Onion Soup Sandwiches!
I started my sandwich by making a “souped” up caramelized onion filling. First I sliced a jumbo, softball sized onion in half. Any sweet, yellow onion will do.
Then I thinly sliced each half into…slices.
Meanwhile I heated up butter, olive oil and worcestershir-sheer-shire, sauce in a medium size skillet on the stove,
to which I added the onion slices, a bay leaf and salt & pepper.
After tossing everything to coat,
(which is very easy to do with a pair of tongs)
I let the onions sit and caramelize for about half an hour, stirring every couple of minutes.
Normally when I caramelize onions, I add dashes of water into the skillet if they start to stick to the pan or burn. Today I used beef broth which, when combined with the worcestershire sauce and bay leaf, helped to mimic French Onion Soup’s savory, slurp-worthy flavor.
After half an hour later, I had this. MUWAHAHAHA!!!! Ahem. Sorry.
While the onions were cooking away, I turned my attention to the bread for the sandwich.
Great Harvest Asiago Cheese & Sundried Tomato Bread baked TODAY. Look at those cheese pockets!
I picked up a bag from the bakery after work, and the squish of the doughy-soft bread I felt through the bag immediately made me whisper “oh my gosh!” Out loud. To myself. In the middle of the bakery. Embarrassing.
I sliced myself a couple of pieces, then buttered ‘em up.
I flipped one piece over,
and layered on thin slices of fontina cheese.
I heart Trader Joe’s Fontina Cheese. It melts like a dream and the taste is mild but flavorful.
Leftover slice for the chef!
Next I generously mounded the caramelized onions on top,
placed the other slice of bread on top (butter side up)
and pressed away in my Griddler.
A few minutes later the outside of the bread had crisped up, while the fontina cheese had oozed out, creating a golden halo of melted cheese around the sandwich on the griddle. ZOMG!
French Onion Soup Sandwiches
1 large sweet yellow onion
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried thyme
salt & pepper
1/4-1/3 cup beef broth
4 slices good quality bread
butter for spreading
4 slices Fontina or Gruyere cheese
1. Heat butter, olive oil and worcestershire sauce in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cut the onion in half, then thinly slice each half. Add onion slices, separating the layers, into the skillet. Season with salt & pepper, add the bay leaf, and stir well.
2. Continue cooking the onion over medium heat, stirring every 2-3 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown and soften. If the slices begins to burn or stick to the pan, add splashes of beef broth to moisten. Continue cooking until onions are deep brown and soft, ~30 minutes.
3. Butter one side of all four slices of bread, then flip two slices so they lay butter-side down. Layer on the cheese and caramelized onions, then lay the remaining slices of bread on top, butter-side up. Cook in a panini press or hot skillet until both sides are golden brown and cheese has melted.
You will gobble this sandwich up! It’s got all the flavor of the soup, but it so much easier to make.
The onions are sweet, yet savory, and that cheese takes it over the top!
On the side I served some roasted broccoli.
Fresh broccoli tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, then roasted for 12 minutes at 425 degrees. BETTER THAN FRENCH FRIES!
MMM! This is one of those meals that leaves you so perfectly stuffed and satisfied afterwards. I couldn’t eat another drop!
Unless, of course, you were to place a slice of the epitome of “best of both worlds” in front of me. Ice cream cake. Mmmmmsweetsweeticecreamandcake…
Off to show my laundry a little TLC. I did like 60 loads this weekend and haven’t folded a drop of it yet. Oof!
Have a great night!
What were you like in high school?
My TEN YEAR high school reunion is coming up this weekend and I am still on fence as to if I’m going or not. Thoughts?