Have you ever roasted strawberries before? If not, you absolutely should. While I usually stick to eating them raw, there is something wonderful that happens when you bake them in the oven. The strawberries release most of their juices and the flavor becomes more intense and deep. It’s my go-to move whenever I wind up with a pint of so-so strawberries. The roasting process really brings out their best flavor and you won’t even remember that they were iffy to begin with!
Roasting the berries also gives them a great texture for spreading on a grilled cheese sandwich. For today’s recipe, the strawberries are baked with a touch of balsamic vinegar, before being layered with creamy brie, fresh basil and baby arugula. It’s my idea of a perfect summertime grilled cheese.
As written, the grilled cheese is on the lighter side and very balanced – you get a pretty equal amount of all the components. But you can adjust the ratios based on your own preference. If you like your grilled cheese super melty, add more brie. If you want a nice and herby sandwich, omit the arugula and up the fresh basil. More into the fruit? Cut down on both the arugula and basil so the berries shine through even more.
To keep this meal nice and quick, you can roast the strawberries in advance and store in the refrigerator so they are ready to go. Then all you’ll need to do is assemble and cook in the skillet when it’s time to enjoy.
A summertime grilled cheese filled with roasted strawberries, brie and fresh basil.
- 16 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut in half
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 slices sturdy sandwich bread
- 5 ounces brie, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup lightly packed baby arugula
- Softened butter
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Add the strawberries to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with the salt. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender and the berries have released most of their juices. Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Heat a large griddle or a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Set 4 slices of the bread on a work surface. Top each with some of the sliced brie, the roasted strawberries (using a slotted spoon to get rid of excess juices), the basil, arugula and finally another piece of bread. Spread some of the butter on the top and bottom of each sandwich.
- Transfer the assembled sandwiches to the heated griddle and cook, carefully flipping once halfway through, until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.