The following post was written by Valentina K. Wein who blogs at Cooking On The Weekends and is part of POPSUGAR Select Food.

4th of July Recipe: Blueberry Balsamic-Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich

One of the main reasons why we love a Fourth of July barbecue is the food (of course!). And why not wow your guests with something unexpected: A crazy-delicious and very patriotic grilled cheese sandwich? Crispy bread, melting cheese, and seasonal fruit — just imagine how happy you'd be to receive one.

Let's start a new trend. Put the burgers aside and heat up the grill for some totally awesome, red, white, and blue grilled cheese sandwiches.

Blueberry Balsamic-Strawberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches
Prep time: 30 minutes
Active work time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

About 2 dozen small to medium-sized fresh strawberries, washed and dried
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil), divided
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 average-sized slices of your favorite sandwich bread
1/2 pound thinly sliced Gruyère (1/8 to 1/4-inch slices)

Directions:

  1. Hull and then slice the strawberries approximately 1/4-inch-thick.
  2. Add about 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil to a medium sauté pan, heat it over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté, stirring every couple of minutes or so, until they're soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the vinegar has reduced by about 75-percent and is thick, like syrup. This should take about 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the blueberries. Use a fork to gently mash them. (You just want to flatten them slightly, so they don't roll out of the sandwich when you're cooking them). Season to taste with a bit of salt and black pepper.
  3. Drizzle the remaining oil on one side of each for the 8 slices of bread.
  4. Preheat a sauté pan or grill.
  5. Place 4 of the bread slices, oiled side down, on a clean, dry surface. Evenly distribute about half of the sliced cheese among them, and then evenly distribute the blueberry-balsamic mixture on top. Add an even layer of the strawberry slices, dividing them between the 4 sandwiches. Distribute the remaining slices of cheese, and close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, oiled sides up.
  6. Once the pan or grill is very hot, add the assembled sandwiches, and cook until the bottoms are golden brown. Then carefully use a flat-bottomed metal spatula to flip the sandwiches over. (You will likely need to use your hand to assist). Cook until both sides are golden brown. If the cheese hasn't melted at this point, turn the heat to low and loosely cover with foil.
  7. Cut the sandwiches in halves or for a great bite-sized snack, you can cut them into fourths.