Cook This: Share This Skillet with Your Cheesy Lover

February 9, 2017
This recipe is part of a 4-course Stages of Love series for Valentines day.

Ah, the early stages of a relationship. Remember the bump in your stomach the first time your eyes met, the first time your skin made contact, the feeling of sheer bliss of being mere inches from one another? Science might claim this “phase” to be temporary, to which we politely ask them not to burst any bubbles, especially during this season of love. You may as well embrace the feeling while it lasts.

We pay an ode to this cheesy stage by celebrating it with even more cheese (duh). Inspired by Argentinian provaleta, a dish of grilled provolone cheese, this recipe takes a hunk of equally delectable mozzarella and sears it in a pan to form a golden brown crust. Slice into it and watch its molten core ooze out like a barrage of emotions on the verge of spilling over, its decadent interior waiting to be relished.

Like actual human relationships however, too much cheese can start to feel schmaltzy. Enter onion relish: a tangy, vinegary component that delivers vibrance and zest to this decidedly indulgent affair. Though the onions require an overnight soak, the actual procedure is easy: grill onions, make vinegar mixture, combine. Trust it; they naturally mingle with each other, forming a zippy, spicy marriage in a few hours’ time.

What’s great about this recipe is that it requires minimal effort but yields maximum results. The interactive nature of assembling the individual tartines as you go along also makes for a laid-back but fun hands-on activity to do with your significant other that gives you just another reason for your hands to touch. Feed each other if you must go all out—it is almost Valentine’s day after all.

Grilled Cheese with Onion Relish

YIELD: 4 portions
TIME: 4 hours

INGREDIENTS: onion relish

  • 1 pc onion, sliced into 1 cm rings
  • 2 pcs garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • salt, as needed


  • 300 g mozzarella cheese, cut 1.5-2cm thick
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • salt

procedure: onions

  1. Lay out onions on a tray. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.
  2. Heat a grill or a heavy frying pan. Brush with oil.
  3. Once the grill is smoking, lay out onions on grill and cook on one side until caramelized. Turn over and caramelize the other side as well.
  4. Once cooked, remove from grill and place in a bowl. Cover with cling wrap while hot so the onions steam.
  5. Place sugar in a heavy saucepan and place over flame until sugar melts and browns. Deglaze with vinegar.
  6. Add onion powder.
  7. Cook down until thickened. Season to taste. Remove from heat and place the grilled onions.
  8. Let steep overnight.


  1. Heat a heavy cast iron or Teflon pan over high heat.
  2. Add oil and bring down heat.
  3. Season cheese with a bit of salt and place on pan.
  4. Leave on the pan until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom side of the cheese. The edges will begin to brown and the cheese will start to melt.
  5. Turn the cheese over and allow to brown as well.
  6. When cheese is caramelized and melted, remove from heat and serve in a hot pan with onion relish and bread slices.
Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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