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Kraut, kimchi make global grilled cheese

Carrot kraut provided much of the impetus for my latest food section column.

This ferment from local expert and cookbook author Kirsten Shockey is a versatile condiment that my family has embraced as a refrigerator staple. So versatile that it can constitute the primary ingredient in a twist on classic carrot cake, the subject of my latest podcast.

Combining the kraut with cheese for a grilled sandwich is another favorite approach. Kimchi grilled cheese is enjoying a global moment, available even at fast-casual food outlets in airports, where I recently enjoyed one. Because my partner isn’t so enamored of kimchi, I substituted our carrot kraut in the sandwich most recently prepared at home. On my palate, half carrot, half kimchi is a good compromise.

Make your own batch of carrot kraut, using the recipe in my column, or prepare this toastie as directed with kimchi. Don’t forget to sprinkle the cheese into the pan and press the bread on top for a delightfully crunchy contrast.

Tribune News Service photo

Cheesy Kimchi Toastie

2 slices soft bread

1 1/2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 1/2 ounces good-quality kimchi, finely chopped

Spread 1/2 ounce of the cheese over 1 slice of the bread. Spread the kimchi over cheese, right to bread’s edges. Spread another 1/2 ounce cheese over kimchi and top it with remaining bread slice.

Put a nonstick skillet on medium heat. When it’s hot, cook sandwich for 2 minutes on each side, until it is beautifully golden. Remove sandwich from pan. Scatter remaining 1/2 ounce cheese on pan, then place sandwich back on top. Remove after 30 seconds and turn over onto a plate to reveal a handsome cheese crown.

Makes 1 serving.

Recipe from “Ultimate Veg” by Jaime Oliver.