National Grilled Cheese month cannot come to an end without my Grilled Cheese del Mar Sandwich to “represent” for the Southwest. This cheesy green chile and shrimp filled grilled cheese sandwich from the sea combines my family’s special Sour Cream Enchiladas with my favorite Seafood Enchiladas and toasts them up in one crunchy bite that is totally addictive.
“Sandy, how did you come up with such a devilish idea for putting a creamy, “seafoodie” enchilada in a handheld sandwich?” you may ask.
Well, my friend Heidi, the master mind behind Foodie Crush, has been featuring amazing grilled cheese sandwiches filled with pears and figs and stinky cheese with truffles all month long. When I told her she had inspired me to make a Southwest version, her response was,
Well, those are Throwdown words. And, anyone who knows me knows, I simply cannot turn down a Throwdown. Heidi’s grilled cheese sandwiches are so creative and so original that I knew I could not present her with your average avocado, bacon and jalapeno filled offering. No… I had to come up with flavors from deep within the Southwest. I had to dig into my culture and surprise her with the unexpected, the unusual, the Ultimate Southwest Sandwich! And, Wa-Laa! The Grilled Cheese del Mar… The Grilled Cheese from the Sea was born!
I realize the sun is setting on National Grilled Cheese Month even as we speak. And, I realize that you might think this is a last minute entry into the battle (very last minute). But, I like to think of it as a “saving my best for last entry.”
So, without further ado (and while it is still actually National Grilled Cheese Month) I present my Grilled Cheese del Mar sandwich.
It only takes two quick steps to prepare the ingredients for this Grilled Cheese del Mar before you assemble them in the saute pan. Cooking the shrimp is literally a six minute process and sweating the shallot and garlic can be done in the same pan, at the same time. Buy pre-peeled and deveined shrimp to save extra time.
Grilled Cheese del Mar
16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can 8 ounces diced green chiles
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 slices soft French bread, 3/4″ thick
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, finely grated
4 ounces sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons juice from bottled jalapenos
Peel and devein shrimp, if necessary.
Mix spices together. Season shrimp with spice mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until pink and opaque. Do not over cook. Remove from pan.
Add heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until translucent then, add the green chiles and saute until heated through. Remove from heat. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat.
Brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter. Place 2 slices of bread butter-side down in the saute pan. Layer 1/2 of the ingredients, grated cheese, green chile mixture, sour cream and cooked shrimp on the two slices of bread. Sprinkle with jalapeno juice.
Top the sandwiches with a second slice of buttered bread with the buttered side up.
Grill the sandwiches slowly over medium heat until golden brown and crispy then, flip the sandwich and grill on the other side.
Cook until sandwiches the cheese has melted.
You don’t have to stop making these delicious grilled cheese sandwiches when the national celebration is over. Give them a try and let me know how you like them.
—posted by Sandy