This is a simple, yet magically delicious sandwich. It’s perfect for entertaining because it sounds fancy, but it’s so quick to throw together that you can make it for any occasion, especially if you make the chutney ahead. If you make small ‘slider’ versions, they’re perfect for cocktail parties. We’re planning on bringing ours to the lake tomorrow because they also travel well.
I happen to believe that the choice of bread on a sandwich is equally as important as what’s inside. If the bread is dry and boring, I don’t care if you put filet mignon and the best aioli on the planet in there, it’s gonna be a boring sandwich. So I chose challah bread for this particular sandwich. It’s a beautiful, braided bread that is pleasantly sweet and eggy and you can find it at most grocery stores in the bakery department. If you can’t find challah, fresh broiche would also work. And if you can’t find any of those, then a buttery, sweet Parker House-style roll would be fine in a pinch.
The cheese is also important in this sandwich. It really has to be extra sharp cheddar. You can choose whether you want white or yellow, but the extra sharp part is essential. The sharpness of the cheese pairs so brilliantly with the sweet, tangy flavor of the chutney. And the challah is this amazingly rich, yet delicate vehicle that drives it all home.
*Peach Chutney Recipe
–In a small saucepan combine:
-1 fresh, in-season peach, diced
-handful of golden raisins
-handful of dried apricots, minced
-large spoonful of peach preserves (apricot would work well too)
-splash of white vinegar
-2 pinches of kosher salt
-1 1/2-2 tsp sugar (this is to taste. it all depends on the size and sweetness of your peaches)
-pinch of ground cinnamon
-pinch of ground allspice
–Turn the heat to low and cover. Allow the mixture to come to a bubble and cook for 10-15 minutes until the fruit starts to break down. Stir occasionally. (If your peaches were extra firm, you may need to mash a bit with a potato masher to release all their juices.)
–Remove the lid and allow the mixture to thicken. The color should have darkened quite a bit. Remove your cloves (that’s remove your cloves, not remove your clothes…just to clarify) and check your seasoning…it should be equally tart, sweet and savory.
-Whatever you don’t use in these sandwiches will keep well for a week or two in the fridge in a well sealed container. It also can be made ahead and will freeze well.
*To assemble sandwiches:
-Cut 1 challah loaf across its equator in half. Then slice down into 4 sections, so now you have the ability to make 4 large sandwiches. (You could also make 8 smaller sandwiches if you cut the loaf in half again across the top.)
-Lay thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar over each half.
-Spread enough chutney over 1 half of each sandwich so that it creates a nice, thick layer, but not too much so it will fall out when you grill.
-Match the halves together and grill on your panini press or on a cast iron skillet weighed down with another skillet. You want the cheese to melt and the bread to create a nice crust on either side.