Calling this sandwich a grilled cheese is somewhat of a misnomer. One look at the photo and you’ll agree it is all about the roasted poblano pepper.
Poblanos are one of my favorite chile peppers. You’ll know them as the peppers most commonly used in a chile rellano, and dried they’re known as an ancho. An oddity about them is they are all over the map in terms of their spiciness. They can vary from a poBLANDo to knock-your-socks-off-hot. The only way to know if you have a hot one is to taste it (or let your unsuspecting spouse try it.) Most of the time they are mild, fresh and a little grassy tasting. Sometimes, though, look out. If you can’t find poblano peppers in your area, substitute sweet green bell peppers. Then for heat stir a little minced jalapeno into the avocado.
Nutrition bonus: Poblanos are an amazing source of Vitamin C. This sandwich has close to twice your daily value!
Back to the sandwich though. I don’t want you thinking the cheese isn’t important. In fact, the type of cheese shouldn’t be overlooked because you’ll see that if you use really good sharp cheddar you’ll get the perfect balance of fresh peppery heat, creamy avocado and sharp cheesiness. I use Cabot Seriously Sharp, a Webster house staple. Sharper cheese means you don’t have to use as much to get cheesy flavor. After testing this recipe a few times I dropped the saturated fat by reducing the cheese to three quarters of an ounce per serving.
Along those same lines, I cut the butter by two thirds. I found if I melted a teaspoon of butter, swirled in a teaspoon of olive oil and used a brush, I had plenty of fat for griddling the bread. The trick is using medium-low heat, because the oil can make the bread burn more easily. Each sandwich has a smear of limey mashed avocado upping the healthy fat balance and adding to the gooey texture.
If we were in the middle of summer, I’d suggest serving these sandwiches with gazpacho. As it is still snowing here in Vermont, I say a heap of vinegary slaw on the side and an ice cold beer would go quite well.
- 2 poblano peppers
- ½ avocado
- Squeeze of lime, to taste
- Generous pinch salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices bread, such as sourdough
- ¾ cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar, 1 ½ ounces
- Arrange oven rack in upper third of the oven. Preheat broiler to high heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place poblanos on the prepared sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until the skin is blackened, blistered and charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, mash avocado in a small bowl with the lime and salt to taste. Swirl the butter and oil together in a small bowl with a pastry brush. Brush oil mixture over one side of each slice of bread. Turn bread over and spread avocado mixture on two slices of the bread. Divide the cheese between the other two slices of bread.
- When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin off. Remove stems and seeds and cut the peppers in half. Lay the pepper halves over the cheese and top with the avocado smeared halves. Lay the assembled sandwiches in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat, cook until golden on the outside and cheese is melted on the inside, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
12 mg Cholesterol, 0 g Added Sugar
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