I’ve been begging for a grilled cheese sandwich for a week now. Have I gotten one? Well, yeah. Finally. Seriously, you would think that I know enough people who cook that I could have gotten one in under a week. Instead I just got to hear stories about people’s favorite ways to make grilled cheese. So when I finally got to a place where I could make one, that I was forced to go for 5 different grilled cheese sandwiches. And then I tossed in a couple more.
Chi-Lake Special in happy little grilled cheese pan.
What is the perfect grilled cheese? I say the perfect grilled cheese always has buttery (using real butter*) browned bread slices, melted cheese, and something acidic, generally mustard – totally non-negotiable. The rest is wide open as the heavens with cheeses and breads for stars. (I really can’t help but get all poetic about melted cheese and bread.) You are limited by your imagination alone.
And perhaps your cooking skills. I still do a have a happy place in my culinary repertoire for grilled cheese sandwiches made from Velveeta and homepride wheat bread, yep, you guessed it, just like mom used to make. Processed cheeses and pre-sliced bread does offer expediency and the ability for the cook to not pay much attention to the ever important melting vs. browning times. However, you do miss out on a myriad of potential flavors. Really, all that’s necessary is to cook over medium heat and cover the pan so that harder cheeses will melt before the bread is burned.
So… breathe deep… think cheese. Hmmm. Lovely gooey melted cheese slowly seeping out between slices of bread. It’s time to move beyond cheddar. After you’re done limiting yourself – throw a party. Have yourself a grilled cheese and wine party. Mix, match and otherwise gorge yourself with a melted cheese and bread tasting. Yum.
Here is my grilled pictorial. Join the revolution. Tell me your favorites. Throw a party to find more favorites. Viva the grilled cheese!
* There will be NO fake butter! I don’t care that it’s not as spreadable cold, heat it up!
Farmer, Blue Cheese, Basil & Red Wine, Balsamic Vinegar Reduction**
Take 1 1/4 c red wine and 1/4 c balsamic vinegar and bring to just boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by at least half around 1/2 – 2/3 c. Cool and store until needed.
Get yourself a rustic loaf of bread. Slice it into thin to medium slices. Roll some basil leaves together and slice 1/4 – 1/2″ slices.
Butter slices of bread top with slices of farmer cheese, sprinkle with blue cheese, basil and press down. Add top slice of bread and press down again. Cover pan and cook over medium heat, flip when bottom is browned. Cover and cook until the other side is browned.
Drizzle with reduction sauce and enjoy.
** another variation is Drunken Goat Cheese, Sauteed Onion, Oregano with Port Reduction Sauce
Cheddar, Chevre & Salsa on Sourdough
Cheddar gets sliced, goat cheese gets crumbled.
Salsa gets reduced. Most salsas are a bit too thin to just ladle onto grilled cheese, so generally I’ll saute up some thickly sliced onion, cook that until tender, then throw in the salsa and simmer that until it gets thicker.
Butter one sides of thin(ish) sliced sourdough bread, put down 1/2 of the cheddar slices, press crumbled goat cheese into cheddar, ladle on some salsa, top with the rest of the cheddar and the other slice of bread.
Cover pan and cook over medium heat, flip when bottom is browned. Cover and cook until the other side is browned.
Cheddar & Romano on Caraway Rye with Mustard
Slice up some caraway rye bread.
Grate some romano cheese.
Butter bread one side, place butter side down in hot pan, cover with slices of cheddar and grating of romano. Cover pan and cook over medium heat, flip when bottom is browned. Cover and cook until the other side is browned.
Serve with mustard.
Gruyere with Bacon, Green Onions & Tobasco on Sourdough
Cook bacon until it reaches your desired doneness. Remove from pan and pat the grease off. Cut bread into thinish slices. Brush one side of bread with bacon fat. YES, that was, “brush one side of bread with bacon fat.”
Put bread fat side down in pan over medium heat. Add on cheese, green onions, bacon and splatter with tobasco. Cover pan and cook, flipping when bottom is browned. Cover and cook until the other side is browned.
Chi-Lake Cafe Special Grilled Cheese – American cheese, tomato, onion with mayo on wheat bread
You had to be sleeping with the cook to get this one, but it was totally worth the cost. (He still has a really nice ass.)
Thinly slice tomato and onion. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
Place bread, butter side down in pan. Add on slices of cheese, tomato & onion. Spread a bit of mayo on the other slice of bread and place it mayo side down on the sandwich. Cook until bread is browned. Flip and cook until the other side is brown and cheese is melted.
Serve with mustard.
A Triple Creme Cheese, Marscapone, Granny Smith Apple Slices & Honey on Brioche
Sorry, no pictures yet.
Slice brioche to whatever thickness you want, butter one side of each slice. Slice apples very thinly. Put bread butter-side down into pan, cover with slices of triple creme cheese, dot with marscapone, place apples on. Cook until bread is browned. Flip and cook until the other side is brown and cheese is melted.
Drizzle with warmed honey or chocolate ganache. (Yes, seriously, you can drizzle with chocolate ganache.)