A Post-Vacation Meal: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

C'mon a recipe for grilled cheese? I know, I know. It's probably something you could make in your sleep, akin to boiling water. There should be no recipe required (except, of course, for the sake of this post there is a recipe). But I have just returned from a two week vacation and all I wanted when I returned to my kitchen was something comfortable and easy. Vacation-mode is hard to shake! That's when the grilled cheese came in.

There are plenty of variations in the grilled cheese world. When I was a vegetarian, I'd eat mine stuffed with slices of dill pickles and onion to replicate the taste of the very beloved but totally not-on-the-menu hamburger. Then I was obsessed with a nice chutney, Granny Smith apple and cheddar combo. Trust me, it's very delicious. This time around I went with some fresh ripe tomato and red onion for bite. It's tasty and wholly satisfying.

There are a couple of secrets to making a great grilled cheese. One, don't turn the stove on high as you will be more likely to burn the bread than melt the cheese. Impatience won't score you any points in grilled cheese heaven. The other tip is to use good sturdy bread and soft butter. I'm a fan of using something heavy and dark (like rye or whole wheat), but using soft butter is essential because even dense bread can tear when you smear on the butter.

So what makes your grilled cheese pop? Do you use raisin bread instead of white? Pesto, goat cheese & sundried tomatoes? Tell me your grilled cheese secrets!

Grilled Cheese with Tomato & Onion
4 slices of bread
soft butter or margerine
1 small tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
sharp old cheddar, thinly sliced

Butter one side of all the bread slices. Fit 2 slices butter side down into a warm skillet. Heat should be set at medium (or a bit lower - so you don't end up with burnt toast and unmelted cheese). Add the cheese, then the tomato and then the onion. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Top with another cheese slice and then top with the remaining bread (again, butter side up). Press each sandwich down with a spatula. Flip when bottom bread is toasty. Press sandwich again. When both sandwiches are crispy and golden and the cheese has melted it's ready to eat. Serves 2.

Jan Halvarson


happybetsy said...

My grilled cheese tip is that I grate the cheese- it melts more evenly. cheers!

Candice Hartsough said...

Cheddar, feta, and tomato! Any time I think of it, my mouth automatically waters.

Jan Halvarson said...

mmm - these are sounding delish! i think i'm hungry! i've always been a regular marble cheddar cheese dipped in ketchup kind of grilled cheeser.

Rust Is Vogue said...

I love to play with Grilled cheese.
1-add fresh basil after you grill
2-add cooked bacon
3-tomato and arugala (totally awesome)
4-grate several kinds of cheese together, mix and grill on rosemary potato bread. I am straving now.

Joanne said...

Grilled cheese sandwiches used to be my Saturday morning breakfast for a very long time. There were many torn bread slices as a result of using cold butter to spread on the bread. I normally use mozzarella cheese because I like the stringy melted cheese, a side of baby dills and some ketchup for dipping. Once at a diner, I had a grilled cheese sandwich with fresh basil in the melted cheese. It seriously rocked! Your mention of raisin bread grilled cheese sounds very appealing, as well as your use chutney as a spread!!