Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain BreadSimple. Sublime. A textural masterpiece. From college hotplates to 5-star kitchens, few foods offer such a combination of approachability, ease of preparation and sheer unadulterated yumminess. Delicious in its purest form and accommodating enough to welcome a broad range of party-crashers (Granny Smith apples, anyone?), the GCS is a joy to make and devour. Here are some basic guidelines for perfect grilled cheese sandwiches every time.
Of course many breads work quite well, but a favorite is nice, long oblongs of rustic country bread. Something with backbone, maybe a little chewy, with a crunchy crust.
Good melting cheeses include: Gruyère, cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, gouda or Havarti. Grate your cheese. It melts more evenly and is a great help when you want to blend cheeses—say a nice, melty Gruyère with a bit of tangy blue. Let the grated cheese come up to room temp before cooking.
Think of things that go great on a cheese board: figs, ham, sweet pear or tart apple slices, balsamic-marinated veggies, chutney, honey—arugula or other spring greens are nice if added inside after the sandwich is done.
It’s important to spread a generous layer from edge to edge for that uniform golden crunch.
Non-stick if you have one—you won’t have to use quite as much butter. A pan with a heavy base is great too, for an even heat.
Low-medium—you don’t want to blacken the bread, just golden it. Plop the sandwich in when the pan is heated up. No more than two minutes a side. Gentle pressure with a spatula helps move the heat into the center where the cheese is.
Bonus points: Once both sides are done, use a tong to hold sandwich edges to the griddle. This gives the oozed cheese that savory cooked crunch.
If cheese hasn’t thoroughly melted (don’t be afraid to open the sandwich up and check), pop the sandwich in the oven, pre-heated to 300, for about five minutes. The bread won’t overcook, but the cheese will melt completely.
For variations on the theme, take a look at all these grilled cheese recipes.
There’s nothing quite like melting, grilling or searing cheese! On your next Whole Foods Market visit, please stop by and chat with one of our cheesemongers. They are experts who love talking cheese and will happily give you a taste of any of our cheeses!
And don’t forget to come taste and sample at our next Cheese Nights. This one focuses on Grilling Cheeses. Tuesday, September 16th, 6:00 pm—7:30 pm. It’s free! Contact your local store for event details.
What’s your favorite way to add heat to cheese? Tell us about it in the comments below.