When I was young my mom used to make us this snack that was pizza toppings on white bread baked in the oven. The bread would toast around the edges and sometimes you would get that cheese that would melt down and brown up. We loved it.
That’s what inspired this pizza grilled cheese. Except instead of white bread we are using crusty white sourdough from Blackbird Bakery and we are sandwiching the fillings instead of staying open face. Double the crispy, golden-brown bread.
You can use any of your favourite pizza toppings in this. Classic pepperoni. Pesto and mushroom. Or my current favourite: roasted fennel and spicy soppresatta.
This is lunch at its finest. Eat it.
Pizza Grilled Cheese
6 thick slices of good crusty bread
Roasted fennel (instructions follow)
6 slices spicy soppressata
12 slices mozzarella cheese
1 cup finely grated asiago cheese
Spread both sides of all your bread slices with butter. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium. Place two slices of bread in the pan. Fry until golden brown on the bottom. Then, working quickly, flip the bread over (so the toasted sizes are up) and layer on mozzarella slices, pizza sauce, roasted fennel, soppressata, grated asiago, and fennel fronds on one of the slices. Cover with the other slice of bread, toasted side down and press down. Once the bottom is toasted, flip the whole thing over and fry until the other side is golden brown and crispy.
Cut in half and serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping, if desired. Eat immediately.
Preheat oven to 400F and move one of the racks to the bottom level. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the stems of the fennel off. Pick of green fronds and reserve. Cut off the very bottom of the fennel, still leaving enough of the “core” so that the slices stay together. Slice from top to bottom into 1 cm thick slices. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil making sure to flip the slices so they are fully covered with it. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 15 minutes more. The fennel should be soft and browned, with some areas slightly blackened.