So of course I had to come up with my own version, right?
Slathered with butter and toasted, it was time for the dip and fry.
Working off a basic beer batter recipe (I used Stella Artois because I'm fancy), I augmented it with a ridiculous quantity of crushed raw garlic and grated fontina cheese. I wanted the sweet stench of garlic to waft up my nose while taking a bite, and I didn't want the batter to flake and fall off, so the cheese was there as a binding agent.
It was eyes-rolling-back-in-my-head good. My toes curled, my pulse raced and I may have gotten a bit sweaty. Every one of the five tastes (sweet, sour, spicy, salty and umami) are represented as well as a few textures (soft, crunchy, gooey, flaky). It's everything you didn't know you wanted.
Deep Fried Garlic, Beer & Cheese Battered Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
16 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
8 (3x5) slices sourdough bread
16 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons sriracha
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
12 ounces white cheddar cheese, sliced
8 ounces prosciutto, torn to bits
Couple handfuls mixed greens
2 cups all-purpose flour
16 ounces Stella Artois, plus more for drinking
6 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese
Canola oil for frying
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place garlic cloves and olive oil in a small oven-proof bowl and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Drain the oil and reserve for salad dressing or something. Spread roasted garlic on half of the bread slices.
While the garlic roasts, saute the shiitakes with the butter, salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium high heat until the edges are browned, about 5-7 minutes. Leave the mushrooms in the pan to cool so they'll soak up the rest of the butter.
Combine the tomatoes and sriracha in a small bowl.
When the garlic has been roasted and spread on half of the bread, spread the Dijon on the remaining slices of bread (1 tablespoon or so per slice). Add equal amounts of white cheddar, prosciutto, greens and shiitakes, then top with the other bread slices. Spread equal amounts of the remaining butter on the bread.
Cook in a large skillet on medium heat, covered, for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Set aside while you make the batter.
Pour the flour and beer into a large bowl. Stir to mix, then stir in the minced garlic and fontina cheese.
Heat the canola oil to 375 degrees in a medium-sized pot. Working with one sandwich at a time, grasp the sandwich with a pair of tongs and dip into the batter, covering completely, then shaking off the excess. Carefully lower into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a low oven while you make the rest. Go change into your eating pants and close the blinds. Serve with additional Stella.
Makes 4 small sandwiches. So it might serve two gluttons or four weirdos who would only eat one of these.