Kimchi and cheese is a dynamite combination – rich, melty cheese balances out spicy, tangy kimchi to create a category of classic comfort food that’s all its own. Here, Kimchi Sesame Navy Beans take center stage in a hearty, fork-and-knife sandwich that’s a perfect quick meal on a cool day.
Ideally use a rustic, sourdough loaf and slice it yourself, about 3/4-inch thick. Commercial sandwich bread might be too sweet and a bit too thin to support the toppings.
Packaged pre-shredded cheese won’t melt as nicely as freshly grated, due to the caking agent it contains.
Most US grocery stores now carry kimchi, either in the deli aisle or produce section, and your local asian or Korean market will definitely have it. If you follow a vegetarian diet, make sure to seek out a vegan kimchi, as many brands contain fish products. If you don’t have kimchi, see the variation below using fresh green cabbage instead.
- Preheat the broiler to its high heat setting. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- While the broiler preheats, place a medium skillet over medium heat, and when hot add the oil. Swirl to coat, then add the kimchi and scallion and cook until the kimchi is very lightly browned. Stir in the beans and bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
- Arrange the slices of bread over the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and then place under the broiler. Toast the bread until lightly browned, which will take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes depending on the strength of your broiler. Remove from the oven and carefully flip the bread slices over so that their toasted slides are face down.
- Spread the mayonnaise thinly over each slice, if using, then divide the bean-kimchi mixture on top, spreading it in an even layer. Lastly, top with the shredded cheese. Return to the broiler and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the cheese is melted, bronzed, and even a bit blistered.
- Serve immediately, garnished with the sesame seeds.
If you don’t have kimchi on hand, you can use sautéed, seasoned cabbage instead.
- Sauté 2 cups of chopped cabbage (7 ounces) along with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, a big pinch of sugar, and a big pinch of red chili flakes over medium-high heat until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped scallions, 2 teaspoons finely minced or grated ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant.
- Then proceed with the recipe.