Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and taking your version up a notch
I know what you’re thinking, why the hell do I need to know how to make a grilled cheese, its idiot proof. I’m pretty sure everyone has had a grilled cheese sandwich, and most of you have probably seen one on a menu and thought “damn I’m I could scarf one of those right now” only to order one at a restaurant and be completely underwhelmed. While the fundamentals of a grilled cheese are pretty idiot proof, by stepping it up a notch you can take your standard “lemme make you something real quick” snack to “this is the only thing I ever want to eat again”.
Warning, may cause spontaneous drooling.
Before I even get started I want to clarify that this is all about the technique of making a grilled cheese. Just like when I talked about making the perfect hamburger, the ingredients of what you can put in your grilled cheese are endless so I’m not going to talk specifically about a particular combination. Do what you want. If you want to make a black truffle brie grilled cheese or if you want to make one with American cheese and BBQ potato chips, do what you love. This is about the methodology, not about the ingredients necessarily.
- Roughly 1 Cup Cheeses of your choice (Sharp Cheddar + Mozzarella + American for me)
- 2 Slices Sourdough Bread (or whatever bread you want)
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- Pinch of Salt
Essentially what I’m going to do is break this down into two sections, 1 the bread, 2 the cheese.
1) The Bread
The real key with the bread is to choose a proper type and to toast it properly. I can’t stand grilled cheese sandwiches when the bread is sliced more than around half an inch. I don’t want to be eating a giant slab of bread with alittle cheese in the middle. Respect the ratio here, don’t go crazy on over-the-top fancy bread. Sourdough is my personal favorite, get a quality one and you’re golden.
DOUBLE TOASTING is really the most important part. You want both the inside and the outside to be toasted. You can approach your butter one of two ways, you can melt it directly on the pan and toast the bread on it, or if you’re like me and are a bit OCD, you can melt the butter in the microwave (25 seconds) then use a brush to evenly baste the slices. Either way, butter up one side of the bread then put it face down on a pan on medium-low heat. If you’re not basting then put a pinch of salt into the butter before putting the bread down, if you’re basting then baste the other side of the bread and salt the bread directly. Flip, repeat, done, not rocket science.
Try to set it aside in a warm place if you are running behind on the cheese.
2) The Cheese
We can sit here and argue about the best type of cheese to use in a grilled cheese and never come to a resolution. The thing we will be able to agree on is you don’t want to use a cheese that is difficult to melt (parmesan or fresh mozarella type cheese). My personal favorite is a blend of Mozzarella/Sharp Cheddar/American cheese.
This is an idea I picked up from Alton Brown, he makes his grilled cheese sandwiches on the grill and what he does is he makes these foil-boats with a handle, puts the cheese on the grill, and melts the cheese into a perfectly blended goo. This is the way to do it, especially if you don’t have a nonstick saucepan. However, if you have a pan and can control the heat to keep it from burning to the bottom, use a small pan. The upside of using foil is that you can just toss it afterwards, when you burn some cheese to the bottom (not a big deal) you don’t need to clean it up.
Pictures of both:
Either way you should end up with a glorious cheesy gob of perfectly blended heaven. By doing this you make sure you have a perfect melt inside your sandwich and the cheese is perfectly blended.
Next up just let the cheese drip onto the bread, spread it lightly, seal it up, and slice it in half.
By switching your style up a tiny bit you can make a grilled cheese sandwich that will make everyone feel like their mouth just did heroin.