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Southwest Grilled Cheese
Recipe and Picture by Susan Russo for NPR

This Southwest grilled cheese highlights the interplay of flavors and textures. Crunchy jalapeno cheddar bread is topped with a spicy chipotle mayo, sweet caramelized onions, creamy avocado and smooth, sharp cheddar.

Makes 2 sandwiches

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder)*

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

4 slices jalapeno cheddar bread (sourdough bread is a delicious alternative)

4 ounces shredded or very thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 large avocado, thinly sliced and lightly sprinkled with lime juice

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add red onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and cilantro. Set aside.

Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on one side of each of the 4 slices of bread. Place slices, buttered side down, on a clean work surface. Spread the cilantro-mayo mixture evenly over the 4 slices of bread. Pile shredded cheese evenly over two slices of bread. Top each with half of the avocado slices and grilled onions. Place the second slice of bread, buttered side up, on each, creating two sandwiches.

Place sandwiches in a large preheated skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Flip the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing lightly to flatten. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese is completely melted. Eat immediately.

*Both chilies in adobo sauce and chipotle chili powder can be found in the Mexican food section of most major supermarkets as well as in Latin American markets.

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