What is more satisfying than good cheese and good bread smeared with a little butter and grilled until hot and melted to perfection? Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of those things that conjure up memories warm enough to…well…melt cheese. It is hard to imagine improving on this classic we all love. Until a few days ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying. Then I came across “The Hot Mess Grilled Cheese” on ‘White on Rice Couple’s Blog’. Todd Porter and Diane Cu have elevated the grilled cheese to new heights on their beautiful blog that you owe it to yourself to check it out here. For their take on the classic, they added onion rings and pickled sliced jalapeños to pepper jack cheese and grilled it on LaBrea bread. After reading how they improved on this great old standby my mouth starting watering and didn’t stop until I made one for myself. I tried it out the other day and I hardly changed a thing!
For MY hot mess, I decided to use my favorite bread: a sour batard from bay area favorite, Acme bread. I wasn’t excited about the thought of making onion rings from scratch but I found some at the store in the freezer section by Alexia that are delicious. They are breaded with panko and sea salt and I was very happy with the results. I am assuming everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, so instead of giving you a recipe, I am just going to give you a few handy tips for making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich (regardless of what you put in it). If you need to refer to the original you can find it here.
Tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese
Bread Make sure you are using the best bread you can find and something you like. Plain old sliced white bread won’t hold up too well under all that pressure (and who uses that anymore anyway). Don’t slice your bread too thick or the cheese won’t melt.
Cheese Again, find something delicious that melts well. Don’t use thick slices of cheese. Instead, think about grating it as it will melt better and help to hold everything together.
Butter Leave the butter out until it comes to room temperature. Always spread the butter evenly on the outside of the bread, do add it to the pan. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but please don’t use margarine…you don’t want to get me started! Sometimes I like to put a pinch of garlic powder on the butter for a little garlic toasty goodness.
I recommend using a nonstick pan. If you are doing it right, the cheese will ooze out the sides and turn into golden brown crunchy cheese bits (this is a tasty little snack for the chef to be eaten when no one is looking). Also, putting a cover on the pan will help the cheese melt better.
Well, those are my tips for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. I can honestly say that I will probably never make an ordinary grilled cheese again. My mind is reeling just thinking about all the different combination of cheeses and savory additions.
How do these sound?
- Brie and Caramelized Onions
- Havarti and Olives
- White Cheddar and Tomato Chutney
- Swiss Cheese and Piquillo Peppers
- Blue Cheese and Bacon
…or better yet a platter with all of the above?
What combinations can you come up with? Whatever they may be…enjoy!