Artisanal Grilled Cheese Sandwich (thank you Susan!)

Last week I gave a studio tour to 40+ photograph students from Long Beach City College. For the past few years I’ve been a proud member of the advisory committee for the photography department, and it tickles me to no end to meet with the students. This year’s group was particularly bright and full of insight, asking tons of valuable questions that ran the gamut from studio management and self-promotion to the logistics of photographing food. I made sure to have the books we’ve shot on the table for the students to see, and later someone asked me about The Encyclopedia Of Sandwiches. It was at this point that I admitted, like I always do when people ask, that I actually took one or more bites of every single sandwich from this book.

Yes, you read that right. I tasted every single sandwich.

Because this was actually work, I’ve prepared a highly scientific flow chart to show you the studio’s exact process.

Now, if you’re a sandwich lover it’s probably a dream job you’re thinking, and you’re correct. Susan Russo, my friend and the book’s author, covers every base when it comes to sandwiches, from the traditional to more off-the-way types of concoctions. While I would gladly repeat the entire process, I’m pretty happy enjoying one particular sandwich from the book. And I’ve been meaning to tell you about it for quite some time.

This recipe for Artisanal Grilled Cheese comes from Chef Mark Peel at Campanile, a place that’s been a favorite of mine (as well as a client!) for years. It’s not the easiest sandwich in terms of labor and ingredients, but trust me, it’s one of the most delicious. Then again, find a grilled cheese sandwich that’s NOT delicious and I’ll show you, well, I’m not sure what I’ll show you. I’m too busy eating sandwiches.

 Artisanal Grilled Cheese Sandwich
3 to 4 garlic cloves, sliced, plus 2 whole garlic cloves for rubbing bread
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices sourdough bread
1 pound burrata cheese, cut into ¼-inch slices
4 ounces chickpeas
Salsa Verde (see recipe below)
4 slices prosciutto

  • Preheat over to 500˚F. In a skillet, add garlic and 1 cup cold water, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drain garlic and return to pan; 1 cup cold water, cover, and bring to a boil again; remove from heat. Drain water and pat garlic dry. In the same pan, heat oil over medium heat and fry 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  • Spread cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Toss with chickpeas and salsa verde.
  • Grill or toast bread slices. Transfer to a serving plate and rub with garlic. Place 2 to 2 cheese slices on each bread slice. Top each with one-quarter of the tomato-chickpea mixture and 1 slice prosciutto. Sprinkle with fried garlic chips. Makes 4 open-faced sandwiches.


Salsa Verde
3 or 4 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed well, backbone removes, and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon capers, rinsed and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice, to taste

  • Using a mortar and pestle, pulverize anchovies, capers, garlic, and salt to a smooth paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, thinly chop ingredients and smash with the flat of a knife; you can also use a small food processor to puree them.
  • Add parsley, marjoram, and mint and continue pulverizing to break down herbs. Slowly add olive oil, stirring well to combine. Just before serving, season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup.


  1. says

    I love that you tasted every single sandwich. It’s a hard job, but glad you were up for the task.

    And bravo to you for giving back and sharing your knowledge and studio space with college kids. NOTHING That cool ever happened when I was in college. I went to labs and played with baking soda and test tubes. Clearly, wrong major. :)

  2. says

    Oh my gosh, I barely have any words that sandwich looks so amazing! I’d make it myself right away, but aren’t sandwiches better when someone else makes them?

  3. says

    Oh my. I thought I loved grilled cheese before. Now I see just how much I have been missing. Must make these. In bulk.

    Those photos are so very beautiful by the way. It’s like I can just reach my and through my computer screen and grab a sandwich. Ahhh dreams…

  4. says

    Ohhh…I love a good sandwich. Some of my favorite dinner recipes are sandwiches with homemade sauces and spreads. I love the addition of the fried garlic chips on this one! Will probably burn them the first time, but going to try it anyway.

  5. says

    You’re a blessed, blessed man with a blessed, blessed belly. I would love to have the job of devouring sandwiches! And that chart cracked me up!

  6. says

    Hilarious flow char but makes sense. My former office mate who’s a food editor does not mind tasting all the dishes that come her way before and after the shoot. Brings back memories.

  7. Matt says

    Yes! A white triangular cosmetic sponge can be placed underneath the bread in the back to hold it up. Imagine a little macguyvered wedge!

  8. charsiew says

    The salsa verde sounds and looks butt-kicking delicious! Will have to try the recipe soon. Btw, why do you have to boil the garlic twice before frying? How different would it be if I omitted the boiling steps and just fried the garlic slices (I adore garlic)?

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