As I mentioned before, the Grilled Cheese Academy Contest is open now and I'm working on new entries to hopefully take first place this year. Because of the way contesting works, most companies require that your recipe be kept a secret allowing them to make the big reveal and announce their favorites. Even after you win there are so many times I have been legally required to not utter a word of my excitement for weeks or even months at a time, until the "official reveal" is released. Let me tell you, when you win an amazing trip or a big huge cash prize it is SO freaking hard to keep it under wraps!
I'll never forget sitting in New York City after just winning the Away from Home Cooking Contest with the the entire crew and fellow contestants for our celebration dinner at The Marrow. I was on such a high from winning and my phone was going crazy with friends and family asking me who won. It was non-stop facebook notifications and I was told I couldn't post anything or let anyone know until they posted the reveal the next day. I just had to ignore all of the messages, phone calls and texts while I really just wanted to look for the nearest mountain to shout it from!
Soooo since I'm not allowed to publish any of my entries before the contest is over I thought I'd share with you one of the submissions I entered last year. It didn't place with the judges, but man is it delicious! All the exotic flavors of Spain are highlighted in this melty masterpiece. A bright piquillo pepper spread, crunchy garlic chips and garlic sautéed shrimp with chorizo will make you think you’re at your favorite Tapas restaurant. Gooey Wisconsin Gouda and Butterkase are the star of the show in this delicious grilled cheese sandwich!
¼ cup olive oil
3 very large garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 (12 ounce) jar whole roasted piquillo peppers, drained
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces Spanish style smoked chorizo, sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
3 Tablespoons room temperature butter
8 slices bakery crusty bread
4 ounces Wisconsin Gouda cheese, sliced
4 ounces Wisconsin Butterkase cheese, sliced
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over low heat until warm. Add the garlic slices and fry them for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Place 2 Tablespoons of the garlic oil in a small food processor along with the piquillo peppers, sherry vinegar and kosher salt and blend until smooth.
In a large cast iron pan, warm 2 Tablespoons of the garlic oil over medium high heat. Cook the chorizo until the edges begin to brown, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl toss the smoked paprika, salt and shrimp together until the shrimp are evenly coated. Add the seasoned shrimp to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque. Add the lemon juice and parsley to the pan and remove from heat.
Butter each slice of bread on one side only. Spread the piquillo mixture evenly on the unbuttered side of each bread slice.
Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle pan over medium-low heat. Place 4 bread slices in skillet, buttered-side-down. Top with remaining ingredients in this order: crispy garlic chips, gouda, chorizo and shrimp and Butterkase. Top with 4 remaining bread slices, buttered-side-up.
Grill sandwiches until bottoms are lightly browned, and the cheese begins to melt. Carefully flip the sandwiches over. Cook other sides until bread is golden and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes per side.