How to Cook Artisan Grilled Cheese With Spec & Arugula

These artisan grilled cheese sandwiches are simple enough to make for a crowd and gourmet enough to wow your guests. Assemble them ahead, then griddle them when you're ready to serve them hot & melty.

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This recipe is part of my Super Bowl menu. The beauty of this dish is that the sandwiches can be pre-assembled. Grill them in batches so your guests won't get hungry and you won't miss the action.

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Lay out and prepare your ingredients.

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Trim the crusts off and slice the artisan bread. Slices should be thin, about 1/3 inch thick. You'll need 16 slices for 8 sandwiches.

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Thinly slice your tomatoes.

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You'll need enough tomato slices for each sandwich to have two. Season the tomatoes with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to bring out their flavor.

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Brush butter on the outside of the bread to keep it from sticking to the griddle and to ensure the sandwiches reach the perfect golden-brown color.

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Rub a little olive oil across the plate you plan to assemble the sandwiches on. Then arrange the bread slices butter-side down.

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Spread the sandwich spread on your bread. You can make this ahead, combining mayonnaise, lemon, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Add the cheese and be creative! You can use any cheese you like. I chose three: 1 slice of cow's milk Carmody, 1 slice of Swiss and some spreadable of chèvre for a bit of punch.

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Add 2 slices of tomato on top of the cheese.

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Layer the arugula on top of the tomatoes. I found delicious, fresh arugula at my farmers market.

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Next, add the spec and season with pepper. If you're entertaining a crowd, you might want to keep some vegetarian instead.

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Put both halves of the sandwich together. It may appear thick, but will thin once cooked.

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Plug in or heat your griddle. Wipe it down with a little olive oil and set it at 325 to 350 degrees.

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Put all your sandwiches on the griddle and listen to them sizzle.

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When they are browned on the bottom, flip each sandwich over and continue to cook it until the cheese is melted. As they're cooking, press each with a spatula to ensure they brown evenly.

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Once the cheese has melted, move the sandwiches to a serving plate. Sandwiches can also be reheated later in a 325 degree oven.

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Get them ready for your guests. To serve more people, you can cut each into 2-3 bite sized pieces.

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Do a little taste test and you're ready to go.

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