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Croissant with Creamed Spinach and Aged Goat Cheese

Croissant with Creamed Spinach and Aged Goat Cheese

Although a croissant is not typically a bread used for grilled cheese, the copious amounts of butter in this French roll makes it a natural for a cheesy filling. Just be aware that because of its high butter content and delicate texture, the croissant can burn fairly easy, so watch it carefully as you cook it.

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion (about 1/2 pound), finely chopped
10 ounces spinach, stemmed, rinsed, drained and patted dry (leave a few droplets of water clinging to the leaves)
2 ounces prosciutto, chopped (optional)
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 croissants, cut in half lengthwise
6 ounces aged goat cheese, such as Midnight Moon, coarsely grated (or use Gruyère or Emmentaler)

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are limp but not brown, about 7 minutes. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. (If there's a lot of liquid, turn the heat to high and boil it away. You don't want a watery filling.) Add the prosciutto (if using), and fresh goat cheese and stir until cheese is melted and prosciutto is warmed through, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the mixture to a dish and let it cool slightly. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel, but do not wash it.

To assemble: Distribute the spinach mixture evenly over the 4 bottom halves of the croissants, follwed by the grated cheese and pepper to taste. Cover with the 4 croissant tops.

Stovetop method: Heat the same skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet, flat side down (in batches if necessary), and press lightly with a spatula to compress the filling. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown. Uncover and turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing firmly to flatten them slightly. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until the undersides are golden brown and the grated cheese has melted completely. Let the sandwiches cool slightly before serving.

Sandwich maker method: Preheat the sandwich maker (if your machine has adjustable heat, set it to medium). Follow directions for sandwich assembly and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. Watch carefully to be sure the croissants don't burn. Note that because of the weight of the sandwich maker, the croissant will be flattened.

Grill method: Although you can make this on a grill, it is a bit tricky because of the slight unwieldiness of the croissant. If you wish to try it, brush the grill rack with oil and preheat the grill to medium. Follow directions for sandwich assembly. Put the sandwiches on the grill and follow directions for the stovetop method.