French Melt (Grilled Cheese With Caramelized Onion and Comté) Recipe
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]
French Melts start with a big ol’ pile of sweet, caramelized onions (see here for an easy technique to speed up the process) melted with a fat slab of Comté cheese. It’s like French onion soup in an easy-to-pick-up, extra-buttery package. Set the table cloth and pull out the fine china, dear, tonight I’m wearing pants to the table!
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices crusty country-style bread
- 4 ounces Comté or gruyere cheese, sliced
Heat 1 tablespoon in a large non-stick of cast iron skillet over medium-low heat until melted. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until deeply caramelized and rich brown, about 45 minutes (If onions threaten to burn, add 1 tablespoon of water). Transfer onions to a bowl and wipe out skillet.
Return skillet to medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add bread slices and cook, swirling bread around pan, until pale golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, cooked-side-up. Divide cheese evenly between each slice. Spread onions evenly between two slices. Close sandwiches with onions and cheese inside.
Melt 1 more tablespoon butter in skillet and add both sandwiches. Cook, swirling pan frequently, until deep golden brown on first side, about 3 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon butter, flip sandwiches, and continue cooking until deep golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer. Serve immediately.
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