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Now that's a sandwich: Ron Johnson's spicy onion jam grilled cheese recipe

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Ron Johnson is the owner of Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen, an outfit specializing in grilled cheese. It has gone through various iterations — at first, as a vendor in Brooklyn's DeKalb Market, then as a corporate caterer, and now as a pop-up at New York City's famed seasonal markets including Madison Square Eats, Brooklyn Night Bazaar, and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. And soon, a brick-and-mortar shop will open in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood, near the iconic Tom's diner, a perfect location with lots of foot traffic on the weekends.

But one thing never changes: his dedication to the art and craft of making the perfect grilled cheese. This is one of his signature sandwiches.


For the spicy onion jam:

  • ¼ c + 2 T butter
  • 3 lg red onions, diced
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T unsulfured molasses
  • 1½ c light brown sugar
  • ½ t ground allspice
  • 1 t fine sea salt
  • 4-5 T Tears of the Sun Hot Sauce

For each sandwich:

  • 4 slices Jarlsberg
  • 2 slices country white bread
  • Olive oil or melted butter, as needed


For the spicy onion jam:

1. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and sweat without allowing them to brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Reduce the heat to medium, and sweat the onions until caramelized, about 10 more minutes. Gradually add the vinegar, then the remaining ingredients to caramelize the onions. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

3. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth. Store in an airtight jar.

For each sandwich:

1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add 2 slices Jarlsberg to 1 slice of bread, spread onion jam over the cheese, layer 2 more Jarlsberg slices on top, and cover with the other bread slice.

2. Brush some olive oil or melted butter on one side, place on the pan, and brush the other side. Slightly press the sandwich, and allow the cheese to melt. Remove when both sides are golden brown.