A Patriotic Family Picnic was the theme last Saturday for the cooking class at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen at Bristol Farms in Manhattan Beach. Grace-Marie said she wanted to choose recipes from the four corners of our country, so we had the pleasure of Wisconsin Farmhouse Gooey Cheddar Bread, California Coast Grilled Vege Picnic Salad, Alabama Back Roads BBQ Chicken and Maine Countryside Blueberries and Lemon Cream Bars. These are all homey recipes that are perfect for a picnic or BBQ and, in fact, the salad and chicken have grilled ingredients, so you get those smoky, charred flavors. This bread can be reheated on the grill and the Blueberry Lemon Cream Bars are totally portable. Let’s take our picnic to the park or the beach right now, shall we?
The truly spectacular thing about this bread is that under the crisp, browned, toasted top layer of cheddar cheese is a soft gooey cheesy layer full of garlicky ham and onions. The mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce give the cheese mixture an interesting complex flavor that just makes you go Mmmmm. And to make it more wonderful, the original soft bottom crust of the bread becomes crispy, with the soft bread inside. You have to make this bread!
Here’s what the topping looks like before it goes in the oven.
And here is what it look likes when it comes out of the oven.
I am just doing the Gooey Cheddar Bread today, and I will be doing another post about the other recipes in the near future. Stay tuned.
For additional recipes from Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, look under Categories in the right-hand column.
Wisconsin Farmhouse Gooey Cheddar Bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups red onions – diced small
1 cup ham – diced small (or cooked bacon, or pancetta)
2 tablespoons garlic – minced
To season – Kosher or sea salt & ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons hot sauce (any favorite)
½ pound (8 ounces) cheddar cheese – shredded
1 cup green onions – very thinly sliced (or chives)
Warm the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, ham and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are very soft. Cool in the skillet until slightly warm.
Combine the mayonnaise, dry mustard and hot sauce with the slightly cooled skillet mixture.
Fold in the cheese and green onions.
1 loaf French or Italian Bread – sliced in half lengthwise.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the bread, cut side up, onto the baking sheet. Spread a thick layer of the topping mixture over the bread.
Bake until the bread has toasted and the topping has melted, about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
Cut into slices and serve warm or room temperature.
Note: Can be made ahead and reheated on the grill (nestled in foil) or in an oven (on a baking sheet).