Roy resident Shauna Havey wins 3rd place in national grilled cheese contest
Shauna Havey shows off her award-winning Mardi-Gras sandwich Monday, July 17, 2017, at her home in Roy. Havey recently placed third in the 2017 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown, a national recipe contest hosted by Wisconsin Cheese.
SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

This unique grilled cheese sandwich won 3rd place in a national recipe contest

ROY — It’s exciting, but not surprising that Roy resident Shauna Havey has placed in another national recipe contest.

In June of this year, Havey took third place in the 2017 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown hosted by Wisconsin Cheese.

Over the past few years, Havey said she has entered many food contests and won around 50 of them. The $3,000 prize her grilled cheese sandwich won is one of the larger cash prizes she has received.

RELATED: Cooking up prize winners one recipe at a time.

When Havey develops recipes for a contest, she said she focuses on creating a dish that has never been done before, or at least putting a twist on something classic. She also focuses on making sure the recipe isn’t too difficult.

“Companies really want to feature recipes that they think their customers will actually try and make,” Havey said.

RELATED: Roy woman named finalist in national holiday recipe contest.

To gain inspiration for her recipes, Havey looks through the past winners and decides what kind of dish is missing from the collection. This strategy helped her develop her prize winning grilled cheese sandwich, a Muffuletta inspired sandwich she named the Mardi-Gras.

“They didn’t have anything close to a Muffuletta style sandwich, yet it is a very popular sandwich and it’s something that is easy to make,” Havey said.

A Muffuletta is a classic New Orleans sandwich. Traditionally, it is made on round, Muffuletta loaf, which is an Italian bread with sesame seeds. In addition to various cold cuts and cheese, the sandwich also features an olive salad.

Havey made her version of the sandwich on ciabatta bread and kept it classic with her meat and cheese choices and the olive salad. To add her own twist, she created a mascarpone herb spread and deep fried the oregano she put on the sandwich.

RELATED: Roy cook’s bread pudding recipe in running for $10,000 prize

Although Havey felt she took a gamble with using ciabatta rather than traditional white bread for her sandwich, she feels that paid off in the end.

“I think that is actually one of the reasons why (my sandwich) came out in the top three,” Havey said.

If you are interested in trying out Havey’s sandwich for yourself, here is the recipe.

Shauna Havey shows off her award-winning Mardi-Gras sandwich Monday, July 17, 2017, at her home in Roy. Havey recently placed third in the 2017 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Showdown, a national recipe contest hosted by Wisconsin Cheese.
SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

The Mardi-Gras

Ingredients:

For cheese spread:

8 ounces Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese

3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) Wisconsin Mozzarella, shredded, divided

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

2 teaspoons hot chili sauce

For olive salad:

1 can (4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained

1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimento, drained

1 cup bottled giardiniera salad, drained and chopped

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup of olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

For sandwich assembly:

4 ciabatta rolls

16 slices (1 ounce each) Wisconsin Provolone cheese

8 slices mortadella

16 slices deli ham, thinly cut

16 slices salami

1 bunch fresh oregano

Instructions:

For cheese spread:

Place mascarpone, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, oregano, lemon juice, hot chili sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine, but do not puree. Set aside.

For olive salad:

In medium bowl, place black olives, green olives, giardiniera salad, red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Stir gently to combine and set aside.

For sandwich assembly:

Heat grill pan to medium-high. Spread 1 tablespoon of cheese spread onto the bottom of each ciabatta roll and top with 2 slices of provolone. Place bottom buns on grill pan for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove bottom buns from grill and place on a sheet pan. Top with 2 slices of mortadella, 4 slices of ham and 2 more slices of provolone. Place sandwiches under the broiler for 2 minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven.

Place 1/4 of the olive salad onto each sandwich, top with salami and the remaining 1/4 cup of mozzarella. Return sandwiches to broiler for 2 minutes.

In small sauce pan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drop oregano leaves into oil and fry for 30-45 seconds. Remove oregano with tongs and drain on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with remaining salt.

Spread remaining cheese spread onto the insides of the top ciabatta buns. Sprinkle fried oregano on top of the sandwiches before setting the top bun in place. Grill sandwiches on medium-high heat for 2-4 minutes per side until cheese is melted. Remove from grill and serve hot.

Matilyn Mortensen can be reached at mmortensen@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @MatilynKay.