I’m a big believer in serendipity. Remarkable things both large and small happen all the time; all we have to do is pay attention and notice them when they do. Yesterday, for example, I went to the store for green tomatoes, but I wasn’t happy with the way they looked. Right next to them, though were some big beautiful tomatillos. Hmmmm…I wondered…could this be a sign?
Oh yes, it definitely was. Those little beauties were perfect for the fried green tomato treatment. And since they were tomatillos and not tomatoes, I remixed my original idea for this sandwich to reflect the Mexican influence. The results were just superb!
On a hunch, I used a cornbread mix for the breading and it worked out great. The addition of a little chili powder deepened the flavor and the color as well.
For this sandwich, you want a loaf about 16 -18 inches (or two smaller ones) that have a little more substance than a baguette, but not too dense. Regular old supermarket french bread is just right.
Here’s how to make the Fried Green Tomatillo Grilled Cheese With Pepper Jack Cotija Spread:
1 large egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk cornbread mix
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 lb large tomatillos
Oil for frying
1 long thin french bread loaf (the supermarket kind)
Olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup Cotija dip (our easy recipe for Lime Cotija Cheese Dip is here)
6 oz pepper jack cheese
Approx 1/4 cup pre shredded Mexican four-cheese mix or equivalent
Beat the egg with the salt in a shallow bowl. Combine the cornbread mix with the chili powder and spread out on a plate or pie pan. Trim the stems of the tomatillos and cut them in 1/4 inch slices. Dry the slices on paper towels for at least 5 minutes.
Dip the slices in egg and dredge them in cornbread mix, patting the mix on. Let them rest for 5 – 10 minutes before frying to allow the coating to adhere.
Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in a skillet. Fry the slices until golden; drain on paper towels. Wipe the skillet out and heat on medium.
Cut off the ends and slice a thin layer off the top and the bottom of the loaf. Cut in half and split lengthwise. Brush the top and bottom with olive oil; place the bottoms in the skillet. Spread each with about two tablespoons Cotija dip and 1/4 of the cheese; layer on half the tomatillos, another 1/4 of the cheese, and top with the upper half of the bread spread with the remaining Cotija dip.
When the bottom is nicely browned, turn sandwiches carefully and brown the other side. Sprinkle the four-cheese mix on top of the sandwiches and place under the broiler until cheese is fully melted and starting to color. Allow sandwiches to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 2 hearty sandwiches.
Please join us tomorrow to read our newest Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe as part of this wek’s special feature.
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