South African Cheese, Grilled Onion & Tomato Panini (Braaibroodjie)
It may look like a simple cheese panini, but braaibroodjie is more than meets the eye both culturally and taste-wise. Traditionally served at the end of a South African barbecue — braai in Afrikaans — these sandwiches are usually cooked over open coals and include and unusual combination of flavors: sharp cheddar cheese, tomato, onion and a layer of fruit chutney.
- 2 scallions, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 slices good-quality white bread
- 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar
- 1 small tomato, sliced
- Vegetable oil
- Softened butter
Heat a grill or grill pan until very hot. In a small bowl, toss the scallions with a little oil. Grill until blackened and soft on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. Turn down the heat and let the grill cool to low.
Generously butter the slices of bread and build the sandwich with the buttered side out. On one slice, sprinkle about one-third of the cheese. Top with the tomatoes, salt and pepper, more cheese, the grilled scallions and the rest of the cheese. Spread chutney on the other slice of bread and put the sandwich on the grill. Using a flat metal pot lid, press down on the sandwich lightly and leave the lid in place as the sandwich cooks. Grill until golden-brown, about two minutes. Flip and repeat with the other side. Serve immediately.
• I used a plum chutney, but any homemade or good-quality store-bought fruit chutney will work.
• Thinly sliced red onion can be substituted for the scallions.