A very good friend of mine recently asked if I could come and cook for her. She said that the only thing she could come up with for dinner lately was grilled cheese. Unfortunately, we live 3,000 miles from one another so going to her house wasn't an option at that moment. So instead I thought I could at least help her amp up her grilled cheese, which happens to be one of my favorite meals.
This grilled cheese is no ordinary grilled cheese and yet it's not anything too fancy or time consuming to make. It may be the pesto, which can be store bought and you won't hurt my feelings for doing so, or the pretty pan seared shrimp that makes this grilled cheese dinner worthy. But any way you look at it, it's dinner in under 20 minutes and I know a lot of you will be happy about that! Better yet, serve it with a side of leafy greens (and a big glass of wine) and you've got a whole meal!
Pesto Shrimp Grilled Cheese
2 slices of bread (I use ciabatta)
4 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium tomato, sliced
2-4 slices pepper jack cheese
1-2 tablespoons Basil-Almond Pesto (store bought pesto works too)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Place the shrimp into the pan carefully and season with salt and pepper. Allow the shrimp to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Carefully turn the shrimp over and cook for another 2-3 minutes until, opaque and cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Slice the shrimp lengthwise and set aside.
In a large skillet melt the butter. Spread both slices of bread with the pesto and place them pesto side up in the pan. On one slice of the bread place 1 or 2 slices of the cheese then the shrimp, tomatoes and then the remainder of the cheese. Top with the other slice of bread. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until browned. Carefully flip the sandwich and cook for another 3-5 minutes until browned and the cheese has melted. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for minute or two. Cut the grilled cheese in half and serve. Makes 1 large grilled cheese.