Caramelized Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

If you’ve decided to try going meatless for January, and are looking to satisfy your inner carnivore, let’s talk Umami.

This flavor profile gives you the mouth feel and sensation like you would get from a grilled steak. The time to create the caramelized onions may seem daunting for a weeknight dinner, so add the process to your prep ahead for the week. And while you’re at it. Cut up a couple of extra onions for your other meals, and make your other dinners ready just a little faster, too.

This sandwich marries beautifully with the Carrot-Sweet Potato soup from December. Or perhaps, your favorite tomato soup?

Caramelized Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Serving Size : 2
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion (1 pound), thinly sliced
Dash kosher salt
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar, or white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons white or dark miso paste

4 slices good-quality sandwich bread
4 ounces grated Gruyère cheese (about 1 cup)

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. [Notes:Always use uniform onion slices for even cooking.] Start half the onions cooking for about a minute, then add the remainder. Toss the salt over as they start to soften. Cover the onions until a pool of liquid has collected in the bottom. Stir every 5 to 6 minutes, and reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add a splash of water/wine if the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan. When they are finished, the onions will be the color of bourbon/cola. This should take at least 35 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl.

2. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon butter with the miso paste and mustard.

3. Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Each of the bread slices need plain butter on one side, and the miso butter on the other. Place two of the bread slices, plain-buttered-side down, in the skillet. Divide the cheese and onions evenly between them and top with the other bread slices, plain-buttered-side up. This puts the miso butter next to the onions and cheese, to combine these flavors.

4. Cook until the bread is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches over and cook on the other side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.