Ad Hoc at Home is Keller's latest cookbook offering. It was on my Christmas wish list and Santa was good to me this year.
The book's inspiration was one of Keller's newer restaurants, Ad Hoc, a restaurant serving family style meals. And that is what Keller wanted to present in this cookbook. Family style, rustic meals. Here he is speaking about the cookbook:
Paula Forbes (click HERE to see her full review) said: "These are recipes Keller actually makes for his friends, family, and the patrons of his restaurant, and thus they aren't always as simple, or accessible, as one might hope."
Nonetheless, she continues on to give the book a rave review. Deservedly. After reading it myself, I had a severe case of cookbook love. These recipes are not as intimidating as The French Laundry cookbook recipes; it's not geared as much for professional chefs as for talented home chefs. I mean, any of us can make these recipes, they just aren't a walk in the park.
After the holidays I decided to try a recipe out of each of my Christmas cookbooks and post them. This is my second. I admit I was hard-pressed to find one in Ad Hoc at Home that would translate nicely to a blog posting during Super Bowl weekend. After all, how complicated do we want a recipe to be this week? And yes, I can't wait to make the chicken soup with dumplings ( a time-consuming labor of love where, among other things, the veggies had to each be blanched separately and the dumplings shaped with two spoons into quenelles) but I gleaned onto a familiar and rather surprising recipe near the end of the book: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich. How simple is that? Foolproof. And Super Bowl material.
We've all been eating this sandwich for years. Keller presents us with the perfect grilled cheese: Gruyère on broiche. He serves his grilled cheese with sweet potato chips (homemade of course) and instead of the old standby Campbell's tomato soup, he suggests his Tomato Gazpacho, another recipe I intend to try. You can see what I mean about this cookbook; something as simple as a grilled cheese has the Keller touch with homemade Brioche, homemade sweet potato chips and homemade gazpacho. Not an impossible feat, but how many of us will take the time? No matter. I'll eventually get around to both the gazpacho and the chips (and perhaps the Brioche). Just not today.
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich
From Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Twelve 1/2-inch thick slices Brioche
8 to 10 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère (Keller suggests Roth Käse reserve Gruyère )
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sweet potato chips
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Lay 6 slices of bread on your work surface and divide the cheese among them. Top with the remaining pieces of bread.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and cook to brown the butter. Add half the sandwiches and cook until browned on the first side, about 1-1/2 minutes.
Flip the sandwiches and cook on the other side for another 30 to 45 seconds. Place on a sheet pan and spread 1 teaspoon of butter over the top of each sandwich. Repeat with the other sandwiches. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 2-5 minutes. Serves 6.
Note: Keller suggest cutting the crusts off just before serving. I thought that would make a cheesy mess, so I cut the crusts off before I put them in the frying pan.