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Video: A $50 grilled cheese

TODAY
updated 1/4/2008 11:45:33 AM ET 2008-01-04T16:45:33

Chef Christopher Lee appeared on the CW network's pilot of “Gossip Girl.” In the episode, he is seen serving two of the main characters their usual $50 grilled cheese sandwich with very expensive black winter truffles, fontina cheese and wild arugula salad.Here's that recipe, along with a heavenly smoked tomato soup recipe to round out the meal.

Recipe: "The Gossip Grill" grilled cheese (on this page) Recipe: Smoked tomato soup with spicy crème fraiche (on this page)

Chef Christopher Lee grabbed national attention as the executive chef at the Striped Bass in Philadelphia, captured the James Beard “2005 Rising Star Chef of the Year” award and was named one of “Food & Wine” magazine’s Best New Chefs for 2006, as well as Philadelphia Magazine’s “2005 Chef of the Year” and Philadelphia Inquirer’s “Four Star Rating” in 2006. But in the autumn of 2006, the Long Island native returned to his New York roots to take the helm at Gilt Restaurant in the New York Palace Hotel.


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Recipe: "The Gossip Grill" grilled cheese

“The Gossip Grill” is tricked out with black winter truffles and fontina cheese, and is served with wild arugula salad.

Ingredients
  • 8 slices of fresh baked white bread; look for a local bakery
  • 16 slices of fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 2 oz. fresh shaved black winter truffles
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wild arugula salad
  • Wild arugula
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
Preparation

Layer 2 slices of fontina cheese between 2 slices of white bread and shave a couple of slices of truffles in the middle of each sandwich; do the same for all four sandwiches. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter melts, add the sandwiches and cook until the bread is nice and toasted. Remove and slice sandwiches in half and place onto four plates.

Wild arugula salad: Place arugula in a small bowl with the vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, sliced shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad well and garnish the plates with it. 

Serving Size

Yields: 4 portions; portion size: 1 sandwich

Recipe: Smoked tomato soup with spicy crème fraiche

Ingredients
  • 4 ripe large tomatoes
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch chives, sliced thin
  • Spicy crème fraiche
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Special equipment
  • Outdoor grill
  • 1 cup hickory wood chips
  • Aluminum foil
  • Blender
Preparation

Smoking the tomatoes
Core and cut the tomatoes in half. Make a little tray out of the aluminum foil and place the wood chips in the tray. Place the tray in the middle of the grill on the briquettes or coals. Light the chips and let them burn for about 2 minutes; then blow them out. A good amount of smoke should start to form; if not, burn again for another 2 minutes. Place tomatoes over the smoke on the grill flesh side down and then cover the grill. Tomatoes should smoke for about 8 to 10 minutes. Once tomatoes are smoked, remove from the grill and peel.

Making the soup
Start to sweat the shallots and garlic in a medium-size pot over medium heat until translucent. Then add the tomatoes, stock and heavy cream to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, blend the soup until smooth. Add the soup back to a clean pot; add the bunch of basil, lemon juice and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Allow the basil to steep for 1 hour, then remove the basil and cool until serving.

Spicy crème fraiche
Add the crème fraiche and cayenne to a bowl and mix well. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Plating the soup
Heat the soup in a medium pot. Portion the soup into 4 bowls and garnish with the spicy crème fraiche and sliced chives.

Serving Size

Yields: 4 portions; serving size: 6 ounces

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