Sandwich King Jeff Mauro creates a mommy and me sandwich pairing just for LUXYMOM’s® readers.
Memories are made around the dinner table, am I right? I mean, do you remember all the goodies your mom or grandmother made when you were little? I do. I also remember the shrimp scampi that my husband made for me on our second date, some 15+ years ago. Suffice it to say that one way to our hearts is surely through food.
So in this “month of love,” where we celebrate Valentine’s Day and all things romantic, we reached out to a true pro – we’re talking the best of the best – to create something really special that you can share with your sweet families.
Food Network star and father extraordinaire Jeff Mauro – lovingly dubbed The Sandwich King by Bobby Flay himself – has created a mouth-watering recipe just for us that you can share with your littles for a mommy (or daddy) and me date.
Not only is Jeff host to his namesake show Sandwich King, he’s also Co-Host of The Kitchen; Co-Host of the new Food Network show Kitchen Crash; Co-Host of the podcast Come On Over, which he produces with his sister, Emily; and author to a new book, also entitled Come On Over (pre-order now), out on bookstands April 13.
And he manages to do all of this while raising his son, Lorenzo, with his beautiful wife, Sarah – both of whom are regularly featured on his Instagram channel.
That was a mouthful. Needless to say, he’s a busy guy. And we’re so excited to share a sandwich he created just for our LUXYMOMs®!
Before digging into the actual recipe Jeff created for us, we decided to ask him a few sandwich-related questions.
We first wanted to get the skinny on just how his focus on the sandwich came to be. It’s so specific, and done well, a sandwich is a spectacular meal!
“Though I’m classically trained, I was also a sandwich and deli guy,” Jeff told us. “From one of my first jobs working the meat slicer at the local deli – to inventing sandwiches everyday when I was a private corporate chef for hundreds – I always found comfort in the comfortable sandwich. Plus, Bobby Flay dubbed me Sandwich King when I won Season 7 of Food Network Star!”
Mauro is somewhat of a LUXYDAD™, in our opinion. He spent the pandemic filming from home and included his wife and son in the process – truly endearing his audience to him and his family further.
And since family is such a big part of his life, we wanted to know what they love to eat.
When we asked Jeff what his family’s favorite sandwich is that he makes at home, he easily responded, “SmashBurgers!”
As for their favorite non-sandwich item he makes? “Definitely my crispy skinned salmon for Sarah, and Lorenzo loves my Detroit-style pizza.” Yum to both!
Jeff Mauro’s Sandwich Pairing for LUXYMOM®
We thought it’d be so much fun to have Jeff create a sandwich pairing specifically for you ladies and your families. Something you can share for a mommy and me date – and something that you can elevate for yourself, and yet make traditionally for your kids who aren’t quite as adventurous.
Nothing is quite as versatile in this manner as the very loved Grilled Cheese Sandwich. So just what has Jeff dreamed up for us?
He calls it the Charcuterie Grilled Cheese with Almonds and Fig Spread. Is your mouth watering?
“The grilled cheese is the perfect combination of sophistication and approachability. Plus, it’s a great way to use last night’s charcuterie board that oftentimes gets dumped or forgotten about. The blend of gooey, funky, nutty, and fruity really hits all points,” he told us.
Our eyes lit up when we heard Jeff’s take on the traditional version. It lends such a versatile flair to a typical grilled cheese sandwich, which is usually – and stereotypically – paired with a side of tomato soup.
Depending on your likes – and your family member’s likes – you can customize this ‘wich any which way you like. Leave it plain for your youngest and least adventurous children. Or pile it on high with meats, cheeses, nuts, and jams that overflow your typical charcuterie board. The sky is the limit here.
And for the most adventurous, and heat-seeking individuals (read: my husband), try Jeff’s Mauro Provisions Craft Gardiniera. It’s his recommendation to instantly transform a sandwich into something spectacular, and it comes in Mild, Medium, and Hot.
“We go through at least 1½ jars ever week. It’s only 15-20 calories a tablespoon and instantly brings funk, crunch, spice, and a ton of wonderful pickled veggies to any dish, sandwich, or otherwise. It’s also great on eggs, pizza, and pasta.”
Okay, so we had to ask the very mom-obvious question, here. What’s Jeff’s advice – as a chef AND a father – for getting even the pickiest kids to eat the meals we make?
“I have never implemented the ultimatum angle: eat this or else.” I want my son to truly love and crave the foods he eats. Therefore, the best way is to cook with your kids. Handling foods and watching them transform with heat and time gives them a greater appreciation of the dish and a greater incentive to try it, since they had a hand in making it. It works, I swear.”
Without further ado, here’s Jeff’s recipe for the most LUXY grilled cheese on the planet.
Charcuterie Grilled Cheese with Almonds and Fig Spread, by Jeff Mauro
For this grilled cheese, you’ll need:
6 oz cheddar, shredded
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
4 oz Manchego, shredded
Leftover Marcona Almonds, crushed
Fig spread or quince paste
8 slices of crusty Italian bread
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
Spread butter on one side of each slice of white bread and using the butter as “glue,” lightly press some of the shredded cheddar onto the bread. On the inside, layer the fig spread or quince paste, then manchego, remaining cheddar, then crushed almonds, then some crumbles of blue cheese. Top with another buttered and cheddar’d slice of bread.
Heat a square, flat griddle pan to medium heat. Place sandwich on heat and dome with metal bowl. Griddle until golden brown, flip, dome and repeat until inside is gooey and outside is golden. Cut on bias and serve.
Ladies, Jeff’s grilled cheese recipe is LUXYMOM®-tested and approved. I tried it out for myself, and you can see by the pictures above (I used a crusty Ciabatta for the bread), it’s amazing. It’s truly everything I’d hoped it would be. The cheeses pair amazingly together; the fig spread cuts through the funk of the blue cheese; and the sprinkle of cheddar on the outside of the bread is somewhat life-changing.
I’ll never make a plain old grilled cheese again.
Go forth and conquer your own grilled cheese dreams and share how your version of this recipe turned out, using #luxymom and tagging @luxymomofficial on Instagram and Facebook.
For more fabulous meals, tips, and to follow along with Jeff and his cooking greatness – and to be endeared to his amazing personality even more – catch him on his shows, follow his podcast, and grab his new book.