I’m probably pushing my limits here.
Not just with the combo… but with the squash. SO MUCH SQUASH!
I can’t help it. I like it and I like to trash it up. Especially with lots of brown sugar. One of my favorite things about squash is that it works in a sweet or savory manner. Hence this mess of a grilled cheese.
I’m all about the autumn grilled cheeses. And obviously, just grilled cheeses in general. But grilled cheeses this time of year are perfect because everyone is all sweaters! leaves! leggings as pants! boots! comfort food!. Last year I made a caramel apple grilled cheese, which was pretty cool in it’s own right but definitely almost served as more of a dessert.
However, one of my favorite meals was this Brussels sprouts grilled cheese and I can’t even count the number of times I threw that thing together last year. Such a fab way to get in veggies and eat your cheese too. I love it.
So this sandwich? It’s just asking for trouble.
It has a ton of my favorite things stuffed inside of it. Roasted garlic – ugh. I can’t ever get enough. It’s so sweet and caramely and almost like butter. Like caramel butter. Like garlic caramel. Like… okay you get it. I’ve talked for years about how I like to keep roasted garlic on hand because it goes well with practically everything. Mashed up with some salt – it’s like a sweet garlic explosion.
The squash is caramelized in coconut oil, brown sugar and a hint of nutmeg. I sliced it into planks as opposed to cutting it into chunks or pureeing it into a spread. I wanted to be able to BITE through the squash, but just a thin layer of squash. A squash plank sandwich! It sounds so weird.
It is so weird. But FANTASTIC.
I threw a bit of coconut butter on the sandwich because, well, honestly? I was reaching for my coconut oil and pulled out the coconut butter by accident. Happy, accidental-but-on-purpose accident. It is SUCH an awesome addition. Coconut butter is the pureed meat of the coconut so it has a bit more substance and flavor than coconut oil. You might remember that I made granola with it a few months ago (so insane) and it’s another one of my favorite… condiments, if you will… to add on both sweet and savory foods. Things from toast to ice cream to sweet potatoes. It doesn’t do anything for texture here, but it kicks the flavor up.
And finally, lotsssss of fontina cheese. I’m sure you’re wondering if I ever use other cheeses and the answer is… barely ever. Fontina is my life. It’s so melty and gooey, it’s soft and perfect for snacking, it works well on pizzas and in mac and cheese. It’s my go-to, never fail, reliable number one choice. I always have it on hand. With that being said – use whatever cheese you like. We can still be friends.
Now this is my quintessential fall meal until my next quintessential fall meal comes along. Which, given my food attention span, will probably be in five minutes.
Caramelized Butternut, Roasted Garlic + Coconut Butter Grilled Cheese
Yield: serves 2 appropriately, 1 obnoxiously
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 bulbs roasted garlic
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into slices
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 slices whole grain bread
softened butter for spreading
6 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons coconut butter
Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into a bowl and mash them up well with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the squash slices with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the coconut oil to the skillet and once it's hot, add the squash. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and cook for an additional 5 minutes, flipping once or twice until the squash becomes caramely and golden in color.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the outsides of each slices with softened butter. Spread the insides with the mashed roasted garlic. Add on a handful of grated cheese, then the squash slices and a drizzle of the coconut butter (or crumbles, if it's still at room temp). Top with another handful of cheese and a slice of bread. Cook in the same skillet over medium-lot heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.
So much TEXTURE.