In The Kitchen: Saltwater Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Signature Seven Ingredient Brownies

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It’s been a long month of dieting for those of us who made New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier.

Indulging for just one day of football fun won’t derail our 2014 plans completely, right?

Chef Susan Delbert of The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club, offers some delicious takes on classics to serve at your Super Bowl party.

Saltwater Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices rustic white bread, not too crusty, preferably Vienna
  • Butter, softened
  • 1-2 slices Brie cheese, about ¼ inch thick
  • 1-2 slice Gruyere or Swiss cheese, about ¼ inch thick
  • 1-2 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat or lobster piece–claw meat, steamed and cooled (1 lb lobster or crabmeat will yield about 8 sandwiches)
  • Fresh chives, minced (Do not neglect the chives or salt/pepper inside the sandwiches! This is an important ingredient!)
  • Salt and Pepper, preferably fresh ground

Directions:

1. Butter the one side of both slices of bread. On non-buttered side, layer the Brie, crabmeat or lobster and chives. Salt and pepper, top with Gruyere. Cover with second bread slice, buttered side out. Sandwiches can be made until this point, wrapped in plastic and held for later finishing.
2. Heat skillet to medium high heat. Place sandwich butter side down. Flatten a bit. Flip after 4 minutes, and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until cheese fully melts.
3. If making several sandwiches, cook first side on stove top, flip onto parchment lined baking flat pan and finish in oven, about five minutes or until cheese melts. Let cool slightly before serving. Cheese will be very hot and oozy.

Signature Seven Ingredient Brownies

Butter a 9” x 9” square baking pan
Preheat oven 350 degrees

Directions:

1. Melt 1/2 pound of butter and 1/4 pound of chocolate (4 oz.) over low heat or over simmering water. Let cool slightly.
2. Beat 2 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt until the mixture is very light in color.
3. Into egg mix, fold 1 cup of sifted flour and chocolate mixture.
4. Optional: add 2 cups nuts of choice.
5. Put mixture into buttered baking pan.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, just until sides pull away. Center should be moist but not runny. Toothpick may have slight traces of batter.
7. Let rest and cool before cutting.

Other tips:

  • Use any type of chocolate, but quality matters. You can use Hershey or Baker’s unsweetened and these will be good, but one can tell a difference given better chocolate.Try Callebaut, Valrohna, or Scharfenberger for outstanding results.
  • These are just as good plain as with nuts.
  • A great trick to get brownies out of the pan is after buttering pan, line with parchment paper with enough extra hanging over the edges you can lift out the whole brownie square after cooling.
  • The recipe can be doubled for a 9 x 13 pan, but increase sugar ONLY to 2 1/2 cups.
  • Never tell anyone how easy these are.

 

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.

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