I am completely in love with this grilled cheese sandwich. Fresh strawberry slices, gooey brie cheese, and a little basil, melted in between two thick, crusty slices of sourdough. With a little balsamic glaze on top.
Just drool over it for a minute…
A few weeks ago I jumped on a quick flight to Santa Cruz, Ca to spend a day-and-a-half in what we called “Strawberryland.” A handful of bloggers attended a fun strawberry-filled event with California Strawberries where we learned all about strawberries, ate a lot of strawberries, and toured a beautiful BEAUTIFUL strawberry farm just off the coast of Monterey Bay.
Fun fact–Did you know nearly 90 percent of U.S grown fresh strawberries come from California, where nearly 1.7 billion pounds of strawberries are harvested annually. And, strawberries in California have a twelve month growing season?
As a new California resident….this makes me pretty excited. We love strawberries!!
The first night was all about meeting and greeting, drinking and eating all things strawberries. Not to worry, only virgin drinks for me 🙂
The next day we started our morning early with a walk around the Santa Cruz boardwalk and wharf.
Then it was straight to the strawberry farm. We toured the farm of Rod Koda, a third generation strawberry farmer in Watsonville. His farm, Shinta Kawahara, was established when Rod’s grandmother-in-law started growing strawberries in 1959. The Kodas farm both organic and conventional strawberries on more than 27 acres along the Monterey Bay coast. It really is breathtaking.
I loved meeting Rod and hearing him talk about the hard work and sacrifices he and his family make for the farm, and just seeing the passion and excitement he has for his strawberries! He was so excited to watch us eat the strawberries and tell him which was our favorite and why.
We walked through the huge strawberry fields, trying each variety, hunting for the “perfect” strawberry. I think I ate about 50 strawberries before I found mine. Isn’t she pretty?
After the farm, we got fed more food 🙂 Strawberry BBQ Ribs, Kobe Beef Peanut Butter & Strawberry Sliders, Fries with Strawberry Ketchup, a Salted Caramel Strawberry Brownie…and that was just half of the food!
Food was from the popular LA based food truck, The Lobos Truck. I was ready to be rolled outta there by the time we were done! Or at least put on some stretchy pants to head to the airport.
And after all of it, I got home and wanted more strawberries. Can you believe it? I had to recreate one of the appetizers from the first night at the cocktail party~ a strawberry grilled cheese! It’s definitely a grilled cheese for grown ups.
Sweet and savory, melty, cheesy perfection sandwiched between two slices of toasty sourdough bread.
Then go ahead and drizzle a thick, balsamic glaze over the top. It gets a little messy, but it’s worth it. (Or if you prefer, you can just dip it in the balsamic)
- 4 slices sour dough bread
- 1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 6-8 slices good quality brie cheese
- 1 tbsp basil
- Balsamic Vinegar or Glaze
- Heat a griddle to medium low heat-about 275 on a griddle (or you can use a panini press)
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place buttered side down on the griddle. Top with 3-4 slices of brie cheese, then a layer of strawberry slices. Sprinkle a little basil over the top of the strawberries.
- Place another slice of bread on top with buttered side up.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes, checking frequently to make sure it's not burning.
- Turn the heat up slightly, and let cook on both sides for just a few minutes- flipping back and forth until the bread is nice and golden.
- Remove from heat, cut in half and serve with balsamic vinegar or glaze (or drizzle it over the top of the sandwich)
- **Using a panini press is so much easier/quicker.