Top Chef Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio creates incredible sandwiches at his tiny L.A. restaurant ink.sack. Instead of the usual mustard, he flavors this grilled cheese with mostarda—a tangy, fruity condiment made with a mix of apple, dried apricots, orange juice, mustard and spices.
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Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
One 1-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
Freshly ground pepper
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic sourdough bread
3/4 pound sharp white cheddar, cut into 12 slices
2 cups baby arugula
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the apple and apricots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened, 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick and orange zest and juice. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Let the mostarda cool completely.
Preheat a griddle over moderately low heat. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. On the other side of 4 bread slices, spread with the mostarda (1/4 cup each), then top each with 3 slices of cheddar. Close the sandwiches, set them on the hot griddle and top with a large baking sheet weighted down with cans. Cook over moderately low heat until toasted, 3 minutes per side. Open the sandwiches and tuck 1/2 cup of the arugula into each. Close the sandwiches, cut in half and serve hot.