Grilled cheese is sweeping the nation!
What seemed to be a food fad has taken root and is growing into a full movement. High-end restaurants all over the country are putting grilled cheese on the menu - everything from classic mozzarella or cheddar, simple additions like tomato and pesto, all the way to strange combos like peanut butter and foie gras, or fontina and sea urchin.
Grilled cheese trucks are in many cities, and there is at least one chain solely dedicated to grilled cheese in New England that is ready to go national.
But why pay 12 bucks for a fancy-pants grilled cheese when you could make one very easily at home? Follow these tips and take your sandwich to the next level.
Butter is Better
If you are using anything besides real butter to cook your grilled cheese, you’re doing it wrong. Oils and cooking spray just won’t add enough flavor. Butter gives you that straight off the diner griddle taste.
Types of Cheese
American cheese is the standard for make-at-home grilled cheeses, and I have nothing against it. But if you do go this route I urge you to get the kind behind the deli counter and not the individually wrapped stuff. If you are ready to venture out to new cheeses, I suggest starting with common varieties like cheddar, Colby, Swiss, and Monterey Jack.
Once you are comfortable with those, the cheese counter becomes your playpen. I find that two cheeses are always better than one. A good strategy is to pair a cheese with strong flavors with one that is known for melting. For example, mozzarella is a great melty cheese but it is kind of bland.
Pair this with something like Manchego or Asiago for a perfect combination of meltability and flavor!
Types of Bread
If you are expecting to wow people with grilled cheese using white bread, think again. There are almost as many bread choices as there are cheeses! Next time you are at the grocery store, hit up the bakery section for a nice crusty Italian loaf. Pick something that has a sturdy crust to it, but gives when you squeeze it so you know it is softer in the middle.
Also, make sure to get something that you can get uniform slices from. I learned my lesson the hard way once when I bought oddly shaped bread and ended up with sandwiches of all different sizes.
Armed with these tips, we are now ready to do some experimentation with different condiments and ingredients! I recently made this awesomegrilledcheese
with salty chorizo, creamy artichokes, and earthy spinach.
Cook up the ground chorizo in a hot pan just to brown it.
All the ingredients ready to go.
Manchego on one side, cheddar on the other.
This sandwich is perfect! The ingredients all play off one another to make an excellent mix of salty, crunchy, creamy goodness.Dan Whalen doesn’t like the word panini. He has been blogging for almost 4 years at The Food in my Beard
; check Dan's Tablespoon profile often to try his recipes with creative international spins!