Evan George and Alex Brown are Hot Knives, the Los Angeles-based cooking duo that shares recipes and beer reviews on their ever-popular blog.
On September 6, Mark Batty Publisher will release the Hot Knives vegetarian cookbook Salad Daze, which covers a wide array of veggie recipes—from basic soup stock and cock sauce to psychedelic rice and Portobello poutine—as well as kitchen tips and tricks. Far from your typical cookbook, Salad Daze also features beer and song pairings with every recipe—such as Green Flash Le Freak and Talking Heads “Psycho Killer”—plus ample cuss words and drug references.
Over the next few weeks, Hot Knives will share their top-five booze-based recipes with The World’s Best Ever. The first recipe in this series is a beer-onion soup sandwich that Zio swears is the best grilled cheese ever.
“Of the five trophies we’ve taken at the Grilled Cheese Invitational over the years, our favorite winner is the only one with booze in it—no surprise there,” explains Hot Knives. “We take a beer-infused Belgian onion soup and turn it into a sandwich. The Trappist beer onions mimic a deeply beefy soup, while the crisp cheese-toast and oozy cheese emulate the gooey crouton on top. There’s one way to eat this sammich: we call it the ‘crunch-slurp’ method. And it’s probably as close as you will ever come to sipping a beer as a sandwich.”
Continue reading for the recipe.
Beer-Onion Soup Sandwich
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
5 large onions, halved and sliced thin
6 cloves of garlic
2 ½ cups Chimay Blue
4 cups vegetable stock
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
8 slices soft brioche
1 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
1/8 pound Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons sharp grain mustard
4 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish
Sea salt to taste
1. Heat a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add the butter and let it blister. Add the onion and cook uncovered. Let them sit for about four minutes and then stir. Repeat until the onions have all begun to brown.
2. Add the olive oil, garlic, and shallots and stir in the same fashion as before, once every five minutes, until the garlic and shallots have caramelized.
3. Add the beer and crank the heat to just shy of high. Let the beer boil off until there is half as much beer volume as onion volume.
4. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, and white pepper. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about two finger widths. Taste the soup and add salt to adjust. Cook for at least an additional 20 minutes before garnishing. In an ideal world, you would let the soup sit a day before serving it.
5. To assemble, start by straining any residual liquid from your beer onions, using only the onions (reserve stock for later use).
6. Choose a pan (cast–iron!) wide enough to fit two sandwiches. Place pan on medium-high heat for up to five minutes or until thoroughly hot. Turn down to medium and begin grilling.
7. Butter one side of all the slices of bread. Top two of the slices with cheese and place them butter-side down in the hot pan. It should sizzle but not too explosively. Using tongs, add about ½ cup serving of onion mixture to the cheese, followed by a knife’s worth of grain mustard. Top both with the second slice of bread and press down carefully (use a pot or other heavy object for consistent weight).
8. Checking the bread that’s face down every minute, let cook until bread is golden brown. Flip gingerly with a spatula, apply more butter and press down. Repeat until cheese is thoroughly melted.
9. Now create the Parmesan crust: Remove both sandwiches and re-apply more butter to pan, then sprinkle Parmesan where the slices where the bread was sitting. Quickly return both sandwiches and press. After a minute, repeat with other side.
10. Remove sandwiches from heat. Let sit for two minutes under a bowl, to let the cheese settle and gel, then slice and serve. Garnish with thyme leaves.
This recipe was adapted from the Hot Knives forthcoming cookbook Salad Daze. Pre-order it here.