Ah, sweet romance—from whence came such poetic lines as “a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou.” Over time, cheese seems to have snuck its way into this quintessentially romantic scenario. The science behind all that romantic imagery, though—fermented fruit, fungus fueled flour and bacteria infested milk—is not so romantic. Somehow, Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese made it romantic again.Jump to Recipe
Normally, if you handed me some moldy piece of food to eat, I’d say, “No, thank you,” and rightly so. But blue cheese is created by the mold Penicillium. It’s one of those friendly bacteria that our bodies love. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Penicillium was used to develop the antibiotic penicillin. Penicillium mold spores break down milk to create the blue veins in the cheese and give blue cheese its distinct flavor. The exact flavor and consistency depends upon the milk source and Penicillium variety, such as P. roqueforti, of Roquefort blue cheese fame.
The beginnings of Roquefort blue cheese entail a romantic legend. A young man living in Roquefort, distracted by a beautiful woman he spied in the distance, left his meal in a cool cave to chase after her. Upon returning to the cave months later, he found his ewe’s milk had turned into a cheese with blue veins—the first Roquefort bleu cheese. Alas, according to a Forbes.com article about the genetics of blue cheese, the legend cannot be true. Once again, science foils romance with facts.
The decidedly unromantic, scientific conclusion regarding the origin of Roquefort blue cheese is that a pathogen of rye made its way into flour and from there, into baked bread. But see what I mean about cheese sneaking its way into that “jug of wine, loaf of bread” thing? It seems that bread and cheese were destined to be together from the start … and that’s rather romantic.
About Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese
I did not use Roquefort blue cheese in my Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese recipe. I used Salemville brand Amish Blue Cheese. This blue cheese is made from cow’s milk, not ewe’s milk, the milk used for producing Roquefort blue cheese. When I bought this cheese I didn’t know about Penicillium or blue cheese legends, and I have no idea which Penicillium variety creates its lovely blues. When I picked up a small bucket of this Amish blue cheese, I just needed some for Apple Crisp Salad.
No matter how small, a bucket of blue cheese demands use in other dishes. So one day I peered into “leftover land” and discovered I also had on hand some cheddar cheese and Cherry Red Marinara I needed to use. I was in the mood for a sandwich … a warm, toasty, melty sandwich. And it was Monday. I was not feeling blue, but I was feeling bleu cheese.
Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese is quick and easy to prepare. The blue cheese and cheddar combination marries well. The result is a sharp, slightly pungent taste in a soft, creamy melt. The marinara adds a flavorful Italian note to the mix. I use a firm, fiber-rich oat or wheat bread to balance the heady melt. The sandwich pairs well with salads and soups, and it’s substantial enough for a light meal by itself. A slice of cheddar seals up those loose and juicy bits, but shredded cheddar will work.
Sealed with a Kiss
Even though my husband and I ate the first trial of Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese as experimental food guinea pigs standing at our kitchen counter, we shared a nice dinner—remembering all of those times we never made it to the table, standing over dinner, sharing the details of our days, our hopes and dreams, our struggles, and our love for one another. Two glasses of wine, a few slices of bread, some melty good cheese … I guess sometimes even science can be romantic.
“We sealed it with a kiss, and with the kiss, we sealed what would eventually become an engagement, a marriage, a Cape Cod, a dog, grilled cheese sandwiches on Mondays, and everything in between.”— Lindsay Detwiler
Bleu Monday Grilled Cheese
- 4 slices bread firm, fiber-rich breads work best
- 2 TBSP softened butter or margarine spread
- 4 TBSP bleu cheese crumbled
- 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 TBSP cherry red marinara
- Spread butter or margarine on one side of each bread slice.
- Place 2 TBSP of blue cheese on unbuttered side of two pieces of bread.
- Scoop 2 TBSP of marinara onto cheese.
- Place slice of cheddar cheese on bleu cheese and marinara sauce.
- Heat skillet on medium heat.
- Place loaded bread slices on skillet and top with other piece of bread, buttered side facing up.
- Toast bread in skillet until bread is browned and cheese begins to soften, flip and toast other side until bread is browned and cheese melts.
- Serve warm.