Artisanal Grilled Cheese Sandwich (thank you Susan!)

by Matt on January 30, 2012

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.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

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. :)

Will @ Bright.Bazaar January 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I’ve just had dinner and I could still eat this – it looks divine!

Karen Palacios January 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm

This looks so delicious, and the photo is great…. makes me want it even more.. :)

Culinary Cache January 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

This looks delicious… and not just because the pictures are AMAZING :)

Lauren January 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

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?

The Very Hungry Bookworm January 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

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…

Amanda @ Thinly Sliced Cucumber January 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

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.

Devina Divecha (FooDee) January 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Haha love the flowchart!!!

sophia January 31, 2012 at 12:50 am

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!

Tracy Portner January 31, 2012 at 4:20 am

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.

Debbi January 31, 2012 at 10:14 am


Nikki January 31, 2012 at 11:20 am

Wait, sponges?

Matt January 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

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

Veronica from Muy Bueno Cookbook January 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Yumsters….this looks like one darn good sandwich and anchovies to boot. Gosh darn it now I really gotta test it out. Glad you answered the sponge comment cuz I was gonna ask too.

kale @ tastes good to me! February 2, 2012 at 12:05 am

I was also curious about these “sponges”… thanks for the explanation! Love the image displayed here. Definitely drool-inducing.

charsiew February 2, 2012 at 3:47 am

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)?

ileana February 2, 2012 at 6:00 am

Oh, that looks like a great sandwich!

A@Bigcitykitchen February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog – and I’m glad I did. Your photos are fantastic AND you have a sense of humor.

I’ll be back…

laura k February 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

This looks beautiful. I’m curious: why do you boil the garlic twice?

Denise Browning February 4, 2012 at 7:28 am

That open sandwich looks soooooooooo yummy! My mouth is watering…
Most of all, I am in love with your photography.
Great job, Matt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samuel (Sam) Getaneh Bogale. Kathy Stumm-Bogale. Calgary Alberta February 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Amazing sandwiches!

Gabriel February 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Lol this is one hard sandwich to make :D

Jeff @ February 21, 2012 at 2:53 am

This looks so delicious. Just looking at the photo makes my mouth watery.

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