I am completely smitten with strawberries, so I’m glad that strawberry season is finally in full swing. I just can’t get enough of these sweet, luscious fruit right now. I love eating them fresh with my morning yogurt, but I have been thinking about how to use them a little more creatively. My first attempt was the strawberry-tomato salsa paired with corn cakes you may remember from a few posts back. That one turned out quite well so I’m at it again.
I hadn’t planned on making this sandwich, but I had some roasted strawberries left over from another recipe that’s still in the works (hint: it’s in the fridge chilling!) and some brie, and this is what I came up with – a grilled brie cheese sandwich with sweet roasted strawberries and Nutella. What an amazing combination of flavors! Roasting the strawberries intensifies their flavor and creates a sweet, almost jam-like syrup that is infused with vanilla. The brie adds a gooey, savory richness that works incredibly well with the Nutella’s nutty, chocolatey goodness. This sandwich is sweet and savory and most definitely decadent. Is it lunch or dessert? Perhaps a little of both.
I should apologize now to those of you who don’t like strawberries or are already sick of them (gasp!!), as I have a feeling I will be featuring them all summer long.
Roasted Strawberries, Nutella®, and Brie Sandwich
Yields 4 sandwiches
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
zest of one lime
1 pound washed and hulled strawberries, cut in half (or fourths if strawberries are big)
unsalted butter, as needed
8 slices of your choice of sandwich bread (I used Whole Wheat and Honey Bread from La Brea Bakery)
Nutella® hazelnut spread, as needed
8 ounces brie cheese, cut into 16 thin slices
Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone mat (Silpat). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, vanilla paste, lime and mix well. Add the strawberries and stir with a spoon until strawberries are well coated with the sugar/vanilla mixture. Place strawberries in the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly syrupy.
To assemble the sandwich, lightly butter one side of 8 slices of bread and place butter-side down on a work surface. Spread Nutella on 4 slices of bread. On the remaining 4 pieces of bread, evenly distribute the slices of brie first, followed by desired amount of roasted strawberries. Put the slices of Nutella-covered bread on top, making sure that the buttered side is up.
Heat a heavy cast-iron or large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Place the sandwich in the pan and lightly press down with a spatula. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the sandwich over with a spatula, and cook on the second side until bread is golden brown and cheese and Nutella have melted. Slice in half, and serve warm with a tall, cold glass of milk.
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