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Classy Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes 1 full size sandwich

Once it is set up for a minute, the melting cheese stays suspended and piping hot

The thought of a warm grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup brings up childhood memories of lunch at the kitchen table with ever faithful and reliably hungry Spot on scraps alert beside my chair. Or years later, me at the stove loading sandwich after sandwich with American medium cheddar cheese, putting them into a fry pan and pressing firmly with a spatula to speed up the process. The neighbor kids and mine loved grilled cheese days, and I often went through a loaf of bread and a pound of cheese before appetites waned.

With good artisan bread, fine aged cheese and an extra 3 or 4 minutes, grilled cheese sandwiches can be one of the best warm sandwiches ever, fit for any occasion and all palates. The secret? Use good cheese, forget the smashing part and finish the sandwiches in a hot oven until the cheese melts into sublime perfection.

Hints

  1. This sandwich is all about good cheese. Use a firm, aged, cheddar style cheese from cow, goat or sheep milk, or an Italian Fontina, or aged provolone or smoked provolone style or another distinctly flavored fine cheese.
  2. Choose a slightly soft white artisan loaf of bread that is large enough to produce big slices particularly if you are going to cut off the crusts. Pre sliced is best because the widths are uniform. Use only butter to fry the sandwich; it provides a glorious golden brown color, crisp surfaces and its own unique flavor.

Ingredients

3 oz. cheese cut into enough ¼” slices to cover one slice of bread
2 slices fresh white artisan bread
1 ½ tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

Procedure

Preheat oven to 425º

  1. Cover one slice of bread with cheese up to ¼” of the crust all around. Add the top slice.

    Cover the bottom half with cheese.

  2. Put half the butter into a heavy skillet (not cast iron) over medium heat. When it bubbles hard, add the sandwich and fry until it looks crisp at the edge and is golden brown. While it cooks, spread butter on top slice.
  3. Turn the sandwich and fry for a minute or so. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the cheese begins to melt and show, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the sandwich and place on a cutting board. Wait for a minute or two before cutting to let the cheese set slightly.

    Cut off the crusts and make triangles or...

  4. Cut the sandwich in half, or carefully cut off the crust and then cut into smaller portions. Serve immediately.

    smaller squares, perfect for a hot appetizer. Note the rich golden brown that butter provides.

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