Most cheese nerds, at one point or another, extend their fixation from fermented dairy products to fermented foods in general. I've known many cheese lovers who have ended up fanatically brewing their own beer, macerating their own grapes, fostering their own sourdough starter or pampering their own Kombucha scoby. It's only natural that someone who loves stinky, funky cheeses might turn to making her own stinky, funky kimchi—deliciously spicy cabbage pickled in the Korean tradition. Kimchi and cheese are two of my favorite foods so it was only a matter of time before they came to share a common home on my plate: the grilled sandwich.
Whether your Kimchi is store-bought or home-pickled, this is an unconventional and extremely tasty grilled cheese sandwich. The components are variable: there are many different styles of kimchi, so use your favorite. Milder cheese provides a nice backdrop for the intense flavors of kimchi, although brave tasters could try this with something stronger. Most cheddars, jacks, gruyere or other swiss-style cheeses will melt well, but don't let that keep you from trying something more adventurous. I love this sandwich on a focaccia roll rich with olive oil.
About the author: Katrina Vahedi has had a decade-long professional love affair with cheese and all things dairy. She is currently a curd pusher at New York's Saxelby Cheesemongers, after 9 years of mongering in California.
- 2 slices focaccia, or similar bread
- 2 to 3 ounces mild cheddar cheese curds
- 2 ounces kimchi
Heat a flat griddle or good heavy pan to medium-high heat, adding a touch of oil or butter if necessary. Assemble your sandwich.
Griddle evenly on both sides until the bread is a crusty golden brown and the cheese starts to ooze out of the sides. Devour greedily.
Repeat as needed until satisfied.