The list of foods I hated as a child was long and dramatic. I would balk at the site of an onion in my casserole, making sure everyone noticed my careful extraction of the offending vegetable. But my disdain wasn’t limited to onions. It also included peas, pickles, beets, mustard, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, grits, and kidney beans. (Do you feel sorry for my mother yet?)
I’ve grown to love (or at least tolerate) nearly every item on that list as an adult, but one childhood aversion still gets me: olives.
I don’t know if it’s their intense salty brine or their texture, but I’ve always struggled to like those little globed fruits (yes, it’s a fruit. So weird, I know).
Still, I keep trying them, hoping one day I’ll have a revelation. And guys? I finally did.
I figured the best way to stop hating olives was to stuff them into something I’ve loved since childhood: grilled cheese.
And it totally worked. Inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean, I packed this grilled cheese with feta, roasted red pepper, mozzarella, and a store bought olive tapenade.
And, wonder of wonders, I loved it. This combination just worked. The salty olives played so perfectly against the creamy, tangy feta and sweet red peppers. And the mozzarella did just what I wanted it to-provide a neutral canvas and lots of melty cheese power.
I like to use mozzarella as a base for a lot of different grilled cheeses, but especially those with cheeses that aren’t great melters (like feta). In that case, mozzarella can come in and give you that irresistible gooey-string-of-cheese-that-won’t detach-from-the-sandwich-and-dangles-awkwardly-out-of-your-mouth effect. You know what I’m talking about it.
So, we’ve got our cheese. We’ve got our olives. Now what’s missing?
Oh yes! The wine. For this pairing I chose the smooth, versatile Sauvignon Blanc from Gallo Family Vineyards. Not too sweet and not too dry, this white wine pairs well with soft, creamy cheeses like feta. It’s also a great match for mozzarella which is why I used it for the Mozzarella Pizza Fondue as well.
To celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month, the #SundaySupper team and I have paired up with Gallo Family to offer you a delicious array of grilled cheeses paired with wine. Because if warming up to olives is the second best thing about being an adult, enjoying a glass of wine with my grilled cheese is the first.
Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. As always, the opinions expressed herein are my own, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
- 4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 4 slices artisan bread
- 4 Tablespoons olive tapenade
- About 10 thin slices of roasted red pepper, patted dry
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces feta cheese
- Heat a flat skillet over medium heat.
- Spread the butter on one side of each of the four slices of bread. Lay two slices of bread buttered side down on a plate so you can build the sandwiches.
- Smear 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive tapenade on each slice. Follow that up with a good sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Then lay the red pepper slices on top of the cheese followed by the rest of the mozzarella. Spread the feta evenly over the non-buttered side of the remaining two slices of bread. Place them on top of the mozzarella to complete the sandwich.
- Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until sandwiches are golden and cheese is melted. You can cover the pot to help the cheese get extra melty.
Recipe by Neighborfood
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