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Thrill of the Grilled Cheese

By Cathy Strange, May 22, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Cathy Strange
One of my long-time favorite comfort foods is a grilled cheese sandwich. As a child, I loved a New York Cheddar grilled sandwich served with tomato soup. My mother’s recipe was simple — white bread and a couple of slices of a mild New York Cheddar. After all, my mother was from New York and was raised on cheese from the state. If it was a good day, there would be a tasty kosher sour pickle cut in spears to accompany the soup and sandwich medley and from time to time a saltine cracker. Life does not get any better than that…I thought. Now there are entire books written on the art of the artisan grilled cheese sandwich. I respect and appreciate that there is recognition of the unique attributes cheese can bring to the meal. The sandwich is at the heart of many families’ tables and now there is the “art of the grilled cheese,” maybe even the “Zen of cheese sandwich grilling.” It is an art, not to burn the exterior but yet getting the cheese to melt properly. My mother used to slice the cheese; I do this sometimes but other times I shred cheese off of a piece, and often mix and match cheeses to create a taste sensation. Do you like your cheese crispy as it oozes to the outside of the bread; people are picky about their fries but what about their grilled cheese? What are the right accoutrements? Does butter play a role? Mayonnaise, aioli or mustard? Does the cheese do a “Hans Solo” or are there additional tasty treats on the sandwich? I think these are fundamental questions associated with grilled cheese. I had a long conversation with a friend recently and came to the conclusion that grilled cheese may be like pizza. Both are great when freshly cooked, cheese melting everywhere. I like mine right off the grill with a bit of butter on the bread and either grilled spring onions or a fresh slice of tomato. You may be able to tell that I am from the south with those pairings. I love my tomatoes! Growing up in North Carolina one could always count on tasty tomatoes during the summer months. I would have them on everything…I mean everything. Sorry, back to the Grill, I have strayed a bit from New York Cheddar but still love that as a grilled cheese selection. Right now, I am happy with whatever cheese is in the refrigerator, for the most part. Cheddars would still be my favorites and anything over four months brings an extra zing to the party. Many people like to grill corn in aluminum foil; I like to grill cheese the same way. It is just one of my many delights when I barbeque. Best grilled cheese? I would not steer you wrong on this: it is at the “Kappacasein Stand” at the Borough Market in London. William Oglethorpe thought of this sandwich as he was dreaming, I am sure of it. Who would dare to think that to use the best Cheddar in the world, yes I did say the best Cheddar in the world, in my opinion, on a grilled cheese sandwich? William did with his creation of the “Toasted Cheese Sandwich,” using Jamie Montgomery’s Clothbound Cheddar and a bit of Oglesheild (his washed rind cheese creation with Jamie), along with some garlic and a variety of spring onions. The sandwich grilled right before you using Poilane bread. I love this cheddar and do surely love this sandwich! I am sure a fine UK Ale would be a great accompaniment, but I just love the sandwich and water. It is a lingering flavor and is hearty enough to last for hours. Who would have thought that a farmstead cheese produced on the land of King Arthur would make the best grilled cheese sandwich? William and the gang did and I agree wholeheartedly. A UK standard for over 10 years! Other grilled cheese sandwiches? Here are a few of my grilled favorites that use some meat to fill out the sandwich: Brie and Black Forest Ham, creamy, creamy, creamy with the light sweet flavors of the ham. Cherry or Cranberry Cheddar with turkey, fruit flavors in cheese are popular these days and guess what? Theses cheeses bring back memories of Thanksgiving in the summer. I love that about food. What about Pepper Jack and fresh jalapeños or banana peppers? Bring on the beer! All in all I love grilled cheese sandwiches. Some of my favorite cheeses would be Laguiole from France with a sourdough bread, Le Gruyere from Switzerland with thinly sliced pickles, Gouda or Havarti with bacon slices, the list goes on and on. Caution on using goat cheese, I love the texture but unless you are using an aged product for the sandwich you might have a runny mess. Goat Gouda and Goat Cheddar are great with a five-seed bread. And let’s not forget the sheep’s milk cheeses — Pecorino of any kind with Moustarde will awaken Italian sensibilities. I never had a grilled cheese in Italy but like the pizza analogy, a Gorgonzola and arugula grilled cheese would bring back memories of my time in Arona. Best of grilled cheese season to all of you. The days are long and the cheese melts great during the summer, so let the grill heat up, the drinks chill down and the festivities begin.
Category: Cheese, Food & Recipes

 

19 Comments

Comments

Ashley says ...
Mm, nothing better than a good grilled cheese! My favorite is with a nice sharp sliced cheddar on some whole wheat sourdough, which gives it a little tang. And sometimes I slice a nice tart apple like a Pink Lady, saute a couple pieces till they get just golden brown, and stick them in with the cheese before tossing it between the bread. Don't forget a sprinkle of salt!
05/22/2010 8:41:45 PM CDT
Bethany Parker says ...
Good suggestions! We are leaving for a week in London and will for sure look for the “Kappacasein Stand”. At our house the best grilled cheese is with your Ciolo Jalapeno Pimento spread. We warm the bread, spread on the cheese then put in pan with butter. This is a super great sandwich (too gloppy for the grill though).
05/24/2010 1:29:52 PM CDT
Lynett Oliver says ...
Your grilled cheese blog inspired me this morning and I knew I had to have grilled cheese for breakfast. Roasted garlic bread, mild cheddar, Swiss, grilled yellow onion, chopped soy breakfast sausage. It was so good! Thanks for the inspiration. Another good one - thinly slice a green apple and lightly saute the slices in a little butter. Follow with sliced yellow onion, until browned. Layer those on good sturdy bread with some mustardy relish and thick pieces of Brie, then grill in the same pan until the cheese oozes. Yum!
05/25/2010 11:18:10 AM CDT
honey says ...
don't forget about vegan grilled cheese made with daiya! mmmmm. grilled cheese with tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, purple onion, and a vegan thousand island dressing...it's delicious!
05/27/2010 2:25:20 PM CDT
Mary says ...
I love grilled cheese. Usually I just make a standard grilled cheese; however, here is one I wanted to try...raisin bread, bacon, granny smith apple and Kraft Old English. I don't think they make this anymore and I think it was a processed cheddar, but there is probably something WFs has that would be a good substitution.
06/01/2010 7:36:45 PM CDT
Megan says ...
OMG - you make my mouth water. A sharp, sharp cheddar with a perfectly ripe slice of tomato on a truly whole grain bread is the best of all grilled cheese worlds.
06/02/2010 8:12:32 PM CDT
Peter says ...
I like a lot of these ideas for grilled cheeses, but I have to tell you that my favorite to this day is still - - - soft white bread with velveeta and maybe a tomato slice, served with Campbell's cream of tomato soup!!
06/02/2010 8:50:59 PM CDT
Karen says ...
Mmmmm....I haven't had a grill cheese sandwich in years. I mean years. You have inspired me to have a long forgotten classic sandwich. I think I will take up your idea and have a ham and grill cheese sandwich. Thanks!
06/02/2010 9:51:08 PM CDT
Antoinette Tomicki says ...
Ahh...yes,indeed! Nothing beats a grilled cheese sandwich for comfort food! My favorite is swiss with tomato on rye. I learned to saute the tomato slices in butter and then adding them before grilling the sandwiches. This guarantees a completely melted cheese center and warm,cooked tomato slices. Naturally, I accompany this with some sweet pickle slices and a bowl of tomato basil soup. I also like ham and swiss on rye with dijon or spicy mustard on the inner side and of course, grilled in butter. Mmmmmmm!
06/03/2010 3:20:29 AM CDT
Melissa says ...
Mmm...I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight! I make homemade garlic cheddar sourdough bread, a thin spread of mayo, a sprinkle of Lawry's seasoned salt, a smooth cheese (like provolone) and a pungent cheese (like extra sharp NY white cheddar). Sometimes I sprinkle on a bit of feta for a kick as well. Fried up till golden brown in a pan with butter! And it's almost always paired with tomato soup (and sometimes pickles). Thanks for sharing!
06/03/2010 7:29:20 AM CDT
gina says ...
Grilled cheese for dinner tonight!!! thanks for the inspirations :)
06/03/2010 10:08:25 AM CDT
TrishB says ...
I have loved grilled cheese since I was a kid! That's now complicated by the fact that I try to stay gluten free and severely limit my dairy consumption. But in August, when they start roasting peppers at the Farmers Markets, oh, yummmmm! I get some freshly roasted chilies, a little sharp cheddar, a little monterey jack, butter the outsides of the bread (GF or not) and toast away in my skillet. The rest of the year I make my grilled cheese with tomato and have tomato or some other tomato-based soup. To me, it's the ultimate comfort food!
06/03/2010 12:21:54 PM CDT
Claire K says ...
OMG grilled cheese sandwiches are the best. Accompanied by any soup is just the meal to make you warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks for taking me to that place.
06/03/2010 1:40:26 PM CDT
Karen says ...
The best and my favorite one is from a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I can't remember the name of the place, it was downtown in a downstairs alley, primarily haunted by the local state employees as the servings were large and decently priced. Black Russian bread, classic basil pesto and sharp Tillamonk cheddar. Three simple ingredients made the grilled sandwich that was served with a side of creamy slaw and a cold beer... I loved it so much it was all I ever ordered there and now that I have relocated I recreate it at home...
06/03/2010 3:35:03 PM CDT
Steve G says ...
Break out your creative side! There is nothing, and I mean nothing you cannot put ionto a grilled cheese sandwich (or gorilla cheese sandwich as a young friend of mine calls it.) Avocado and tomato slices along with a sharp cheddar and a few hot pepper flakes is a great combo. Just let your imagination run wild!
06/04/2010 8:04:38 AM CDT
Jeanette says ...
Dreaming of my days as a little girl in North Myrtle Beach, SC, my Mom would grill old-fashioned pimento cheese on white bread...plan & simple & very delcious. My heart is smiling right now. I think I know what's for lunch today! :)
06/04/2010 8:44:09 AM CDT
Herbert Murphy says ...
Try fresh mozzarella cheese, a thin slice of tomato and a few basil leaves on sourdough bread and use olive oil to coat outside of the bread on one side and butter on the other side. YUM YUM my summertime favorite
06/04/2010 10:27:57 AM CDT
Katie Brandt says ...
I love grilled cheese in all its delicious forms. Even though it is supposedly a "kid food," my very grownup pallet can't get enough. I even feel that quesadillas belong in this category. Yumm. Great blog, Cathy!
10/19/2010 4:03:26 PM CDT
RM says ...
Try these cato corner cheeses for amazing gtilled cheese @ http://wheretogoandwhattodo.blogspot.com/search?q=cato
09/12/2014 1:11:39 PM CDT