Here’s my recipe for my entry from last year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational. For some reason, no one took an actual picture of the sandwich. It’s a time-consuming recipe that’ll take at least two days to make. There is no way I’m making this again unless there’s a cash prize to be won. Instead, here’s a stock photo of Abondance cheese. I found a photo of a grilled cheese I made the next day with leftover Abondance cheese and bread. This is the closest photo evidence I have of my sandwich.
For galbi jjim
4 pounds of beef short ribs
1 1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar (I prefer brown)
1/2 cup plum wine
2 1/2 cup water
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 carrot, cut into large slices
1/4 cup gingko nuts (optional)
8 cloves garlic
1 scallion diced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 Asian pear, peeled and grated
tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
ground pepper to taste
1. Score the short ribs cross-wise, so it’s divided into 4 pieces on the bone. Bring water to a boil in a large pot to a simmer. Parboil the ribs for 30 minutes (Parboiling for a braise is normally not the way to go. But the braising liquid in a galbi jjim is strong, and Koreans don’t like their ribs as greasy as a traditional pot roast. But if you want a more tender cut of meat, you can skip this part and add more water to the braising liquid)
2. Combine all the other ingredients and stir to taste. You can adjust the sugar depending on how sweet you like the dish. I actually use 2/3 cup brown sugar, because I like a more sweeter dish.
3. Place meat in the braising liquid. Simmer on low heat for at least 1 1/2 hours.
4. Once it’s fork tender, take ribs out and let it cool.
This galbi jjim recipe is only for the grilled cheese. I usually make a slightly more complex version if serving this as the main course. That’s for another time.
For pickled shallots (white kimchi shallots)
4 shallot bulbs, sliced into thin strips
2 cups water
1/4 cup sea salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 red chile, seeded and diced
1 Asian pear, sliced into thin strips
1. Bring water, salt and sugar to a near boil to make a brine. Let cool
2. Sterilize a pickling jar in boiling water.
3. Stuff shallots, chiles, garlic and Asian pear in the jar. Top to the brim with brine.
4. Seal the jar (make sure it’s airtight by not leaving any space at the top) and cool in the refrigerator for at least a day, and up to a week.
For the grilled cheese
2 pounds galbi jjim short ribs, pulled into pieces (I used my hands, which leaves bigger morsels than pulling with a fork)
8 slices sesame bread (I got mine from La Brea Bakery)
3 cups Abondance cheese, shredded
unsalted butter, softened
1 clove garlic, sliced
black sesame seed
1. Either grill the slices of bread or toast in a 500-degrees oven for 2-3 minutes.
2. Take the garlic clove and slice it in half. Rub both sides of the bread slices with the cut side of the garlic.
3. Butter one side of two slices of bread. Layer one slice with a handful of shredded cheese, some galbi jjim, another handful of cheese, a few slices of shallots and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. Top with the other slice.
4. Grill on one side for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Flip sandwich and grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Weigh down the sandwich with a brick wrapped in foil or a heavy pan (greased) to meld all the ingredients together.
5. Eat and/or enter in a grilled cheese competition.