Make a Better Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches hold a special place in my heart. It’s the first food I can actually remember craving as a kid and even though my choice of cheeses now includes more than the individually-wrapped, bright orange slices of my youth, my craving continues. While I’m not the best at keeping track of all the various and sundry food days, today is National Grilled Cheese Day. Attention must be paid.

To honor my favorite sandwich, here are a few tips to help you make a better grilled cheese.

1. Choose cheeses that melt well. Gruyere, fontina and cheddar are excellent choices.

2. Brush one side (the outside) of each piece of bread with softened or melted butter. This will help brown your sandwich evenly.

3. Use grated/shredded or thinly-sliced cheeses. Large pieces or thick slices will take too long to melt, leaving you with over-cooked or burnt bread and unmelted cheese.

4. Think outside the box. Experiment with different types of breads and fillings. Dress up your sandwich with a schmear of spicy mustard or other sauce, sliced tomatoes, fresh herbs, spices, bacon, prosciutto or caramelized onions. Using more than one cheese is another way to add more flavor.

Stovetop Tips:

1. Use a non-stick pan to keep the cheese from sticking when it oozes out from the bread.

2. Cover the pan. The trapped heat will help melt the cheese faster.

Oven/Broiler Tips:

1. Line your baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.

2. Pay attention. It only takes a second to go from perfectly melted cheese and crispy, golden toast to burnt to a crisp, smoke alarm blaring. Check your sandwiches frequently.

Check out our Grilled Cheddar & Green Apple Sandwich recipe.

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