Piadina Grilled Cheese

Spending time in Paris is probably the best thing I can do done to ensure that I will never be vegan because I fall deeply in love with cheese, every time.

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

There was that one period of time during which I was in Paris by myself and ate what I wanted, as cheaply as I wanted—which meant a lot of cafe-croissant breakfasts and dinners spent outside with bakery-fresh baguettes, vibrant cote de boeuf tomatoes and chunks of sharp Comte cheese. That was about the time I truly fell in love with bread + tomatoes + cheese.

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

IMG_7024regPiadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake PrincessIn Portland, I fell in love with a different permutation at Gabagool, an Italian street food truck (and one of the many stops on our culinary tour). In my vegetarian sandwich, the baguette was swapped for piadina (a tortilla-like Italian flatbread), firm Comte for fresh, hand-pulled mozzarella cheese, and fresh tomatoes for tiny, wrinkly roasted tomatoes with incredibly concentrated bursts of flavor. It was an utter epiphany of freshness and flavor and a perfect reminder that food doesn’t need to be complicated to be outrageously delicious.

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake PrincessAnd so I’m coming back to the simplest roots for this grilled sandwich, my entry to Emmi USA’s Grilled Cheese recipe contest. The only thing I would have changed about that Gabagool sandwich is the cheese–fresh, slightly bland mozzarella has its time and place, but a melty, flavorful cheese would have been my first choice. In this sandwich, I did just that: a round of homemade piadina filled with slow-roasted tomatoes, soft, golden garlic and fresh basil bound together by a melting pile of some of the best cheese I’ve ever tasted.

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

The Emmi team kindly sent me two types of cheese along with a gorgeous indoor grill to help me create this sandwich. It’s not even close to a stretch to say that they’ve changed my perspective on gruyere forever. I grew up eating bland orange hunks from Costco, but theirs—aged in Swiss caves for months and made from the freshest organic milk—is worlds away. The tangy, delicious cheese melts beautifully and and pairs like a dream with just a few highlights of tomatoes, basil and garlic.

In a recipe this simple, each ingredient has to pull its own weight. Let me tell you: this cheese is hauling some serious weight.

Piadina Grilled Cheese // The Pancake Princess

Notes

This recipe takes some time since it takes 3 hours to roast the tomatoes + an hour to rest the piadina dough, but the actual hands-on time is very minimal. I know it sounds crazy to turn on your oven for three hours during the summer, but as Deb says, it really doesn’t heat up your apartment significantly at such a low heat.

I made my piadinas with half spelt flour, half all-purpose flour, but you can make more authentic, pliable ones with all-purpose flour. If you don’t have the time or patience to spend time making them fresh, you can buy piadinas in some stores, or you can substitute freshly made flour tortillas (easily found at any local Mexican bakery).

PS. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen! The deadline to enter is this Friday, 6/20.

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Emmi USA and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. All opinions are my own.

Piadina Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • For the roasted tomatoes and garlic:
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6-8 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • For the piadina:
  • 4 oz (or a scant cup) all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz (or a scant cup) spelt flour (or additional all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons water + more as needed

  • For assembling:
  • Emmi Kaltbach aged gruyere cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped finely

Instructions

For the roasted tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Slice tomatoes in half. Add tomatoes and garlic to a non-reactive (read: non-aluminum) baking dish or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 3 hours.

For the piadina:

Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl, then stir in oil and water. Knead dough for several minutes, until smooth. (If you are using all all-purpose flour, this may take up to 10 minutes. If you are using half spelt flour, you can knead it for slightly less time and it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth).

Cover dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for an hour. (The dough can also be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for several days).

Lightly flour a surface for rolling and roll out the dough until as thin as you like (it should be quite thin, about a 1/4 to 1/10 of an inch (it will puff up slightly as it cooks).

Cut out circles of your desired size--I used a 6-inch cake pan as a template and ran a knife around the edge.

Make sure you have the rest of your ingredients ready before you start cooking the piadina! Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the circle of dough and let cook for 30-60 seconds, or until brown spots start to form on the bottom. Prick the piadina all over with a fork to help the middle cook, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Immediately assemble your grilled cheese while the piadina is still warm.

To assemble:

Peel the roasted garlic and smear a few cloves on a piadina. Add a few slices of gruyere cheese, a generous handful of roasted tomatoes and some basil on top. Grill over medium heat until cheese is melted. Eat immediately.

Notes

Piadina was adapted from a recipe that I can no longer find on YouTube; the oven-roasted tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen. Inspired by Gabagool.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2014/06/18/piadina-grilled-cheese/

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35 thoughts on “Piadina Grilled Cheese

  1. Pingback: Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 9 | Wallflour Girl

  2. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    These pictures are making me drool, to an embarrassingly literal degree. I mean, they have everything: good bread; melty, slightly stinky cheese; sweet delicious roasted tomatoes and BASIL. Leaf of the gods. I hope someday we can have a picnic together. I nominate you to bring the sandwiches :)

    Reply
  3. Ala

    Giiiirl, I just ate my first grilled cheese in years and you have me just DYING for more! It was a pimento grilled cheese from South Carolina. Lordy lord! You, my friend, are in the business and should be grilling these up for friends, family, yourself, and everyone else in between (can I include myself in this list?). This looks heavenly, girl!

    Reply
  4. laurasmess

    Grilled cheese is one of my perpetual favourite things. I haven’t had a panini press for a very long time (bah – they make grilling so easy!!) so I’ve just been using a frypan but the pretty grill marks on this piadina make me want to reinvest in a press!! As for tomatoes, bread and cheese? YES. My mother used to make me those sandwiches when I was very small and I have loved them ever since. Sometimes (as an Aussie) I also add a thin smear of Vegemite. It is SO GOOD. The saltiness just adds that extra bit of ‘umami’ seasoning…! Gorgeous post, good luck in the contest lovely one! xxx

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Ooooh this vegemite that you speak of…I’m so intrigued. I’ve heard lots about it (the whole love or hate thing), but never tried it! But mm extra umami is always a plus! Maybe I’ll have to try a swipe of miso on this next time! Ooh or miso with mashed avocado…you’re so inspiring!! <3

      Reply
  5. Shikha @ Shikha la mode

    NOM IN MY MOUTH. I love that tomatoes/cheese/bread combo, especially now in the summertime when tomatoes are the best! I don’t think I’ll be as lucky to snag tomatoes when I go to Paris, but cheese will most definitely be happening.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh you can def snag some tomatoes!! I picked up mine just by walking down streets that had stores with bins out front–keep an eye out for the cote de boeuf tomatoes (a pic of them is in my upcoming post about Paris). They are sooo delish.

      Reply
  6. Pang

    You are so right; the most delicious dish usually is the simplest with the best ingredients. This sandwich hit a home run in so many levels, and I really LOVE that. The cheese you showed here is usually the one I buy anyway, and they are really good :)

    I am so glad to have you NOT being vegan with. I need to see more recipes with cheese from your yummy blog. xoxo

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Well look at you! You should take me shopping so I can find out all your gourmet secrets :) I usually buy the store-brand stuff in plastic bags, so this was quite the departure ;) And YES! More cheese recipes are coming :))

      Reply
  7. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Bread + tomatoes + cheese is probably the best thing in the universe ever. If I had to choose just one thing to eat until the end of my days I’d probably choose margarita pizza just so I could have bread + tomatoes + cheese forever. I love the homemade flatbread and roasted tomatoes here, you’ve really elevated the grilled cheese situation. And that grill? Hello! I want one!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yesssss! Ooh that’s a good choice. And it sounds really healthy compared to the chocolate cake which was my first instinct. Yeah pretty much any combination of those three makes me super happy. You should come over and we will grill all the things on that pretty grill!!

      Reply
  8. The Vegan 8

    Girl you bought all that cheese! That’s a lot of cheese, hahaha! I love classic grilled cheese sandwhiches. I now make them with my “cheez whiz” which tastes just like original cheese whiz without the crapola ingredients and I also have a new recipe that is a basil “ricotta” that is the bomb on grilled sandwiches. Yours look so pretty and I’m sure you will do great on the contest girl! I’m so glad you had such a nice time in Paris, that is so wonderful to hear! I love roasted tomatoes too, the flavors really come out amazingly!!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oooh yum! Hmm I’m going to have to go re-subscribe to your blog because I don’t think I’ve been getting your updates! I made a vegan almond feta cheese the other day that was delicious–your basil ricotta sounds like it would be incredible on sandwiches!! Thanks so much Brandi <3

      Reply
  9. Karen @ The Food Charlatan

    “food doesn’t need to be complicated to be outrageously delicious.”
    I’m going to frame this and put it on my wall. Amen sista!
    I love this sandwich. I love that you didn’t put anything on the tomatoes except oil and salt and pepper. there is probably nothing better than a roasted tomato. can I come to france with you next time??

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh I’m so flattered :) OMG KAREN I JUST REMEMBERED. I am THE WORST but I meant to (ages ago) instagram the DELICIOUS TJ candies you sent me and tag you to say thank you!!! But of course the light was never right and then I got distracted and blah blah blah what I’m trying to say is THANK YOU for that awesome giveaway prize…just a few little months late. I was so happy, you have no idea. You’re the best!!! So yes, you can totally come to France with me next time!! Bring that cute walking baby of yours!

      Reply
  10. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Your writing is a feast for my mind, Erika. I could practically taste each different fabulous ingredient as you were describing them and then that final sandwich, with everything melded together with that flavourful cheese…I’m drooling on myself. I love all of these beautiful photos too, especially the close up of the wrinkly little tomatoes on the tray with that gorgeous backlight and the sammich on the grill, getting all crispy and gooey. This is the wrong thing to read right before lunchtime when I’m ravenously hungry! Good luck with the contest. Oh, and cave cheese > Costco cheese any day!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh Nancy, what would I do without you? You always give my confidence such a boost :) Thanks for the photo compliments! <3333333 And LOL yes cave cheese–my new favorite thing!!

      Reply

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