This recipe is brought to you in partnership with my friends at Tillamook. I’ve signed up as a Tillamook Ambassador this year and am thrilled to be presenting some great recipes featuring their cheese!
Summer Squash Grilled Cheese Toasties with Fresh Tomato Dipping Sauce
Chances are you’ll be grilling outdoors this Summer, so while you’re planning I’d love to introduce you to this spin on the iconic South African grilled cheese called a “braaibroodtjie.” Say that three times really fast!
Summer squash and zucchini are in peak season and I love finding ways to use them, especially raw in salads or in this case, on a grilled cheese! These vegetables have an amazing nutty flavor and when sliced thinly enough here, the Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Cheddar Slices just melt into them to create a layered dream. In this application I went with two kinds of Tillamook Cheddar, medium and medium white, which are both aged for 60 days and provide just the right amount of sharpness to take this sandwich to the next level. Find out where to buy it in your area here.
We find any excuse to start a wood fire where I’m from, using native wood like rooikrans to grill our favorite proteins and then these sandwiches as the fire starts to die out. The smoke gives these summer squash grilled cheese toasties an amazing flavor that you’ll keep coming back to. I’ve found that apple wood works quite well now that I’m living in the states, but lump charcoal is a great option as well.
A few tips:
You can absolutely cook these indoors using a griddle pan.
I recommend sourdough because it’s sturdy and can hold up while handling/flipping it over a fire. Buying a whole loaf and slicing it yourself just adds to the appeal :)
Are you team ketchup with a grilled cheese, or no? If so, the fresh tomato dipping sauce is a great alternative to store-bought ketchup and uses up the very best of what Summer has to offer. I prefer to leave them unpeeled and chunky, but an immersion blender will smooth it out if you prefer yours thinner. If you’re not a fan of dipping in tomato sauce, try some fresh basil pesto.
Summer Squash Grilled Cheese Toasties with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4-8
8 slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 small Summer squash, sliced into thin discs
1 small zucchini, sliced into thin discs
1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 slices Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Medium White Cheddar Sliced Cheese
4 slices Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Medium Cheddar Sliced Cheese
Optional: fresh basil leaves
For Fresh Tomato Dipping Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic then sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add brown sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes more. The brown sugar helps caramelize the onions faster. Reduce heat to medium-low, add remaining ingredients, stir and simmer uncovered or 20 minutes until tomatoes have broken down and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter on each slice of sourdough bread. Place 4 slices, buttered side down, on a clean work surface or directly on to a grill basket. Top with a layer of sliced squash and zucchini, then season with smoked sea salt and pepper. Add one slice of cheddar, followed by another layer of squash and zucchini and the final slice of cheddar. Layer with fresh basil leaves if desired. Place remaining bread slices on top, butter side up.
Grill for 1-2 minutes per side over a medium heat source until the bread is toasted and the cheese melted. Remove from grill and serve with warm dipping sauce. You could serve a whole sandwich as a meal, or 1/2 sandwich to each person as a side with your grilled feast.