Before I start rhapsodizing about my favorite grilled cheese sandwich, I want to quickly tell you about a cool share button I’ve added to Flipped-Out Food: I recently joined Yummly as a publisher. If you haven’t heard of this before, Yummly is a website where you can share and save your favorite recipes into your own customized recipe box. As you save more and more recipes, you’ll get recipe recommendations that are tailored to your own tastes! All you have to do is join Yummly and then click on the Yum button (above) whenever you see a recipe you like. It couldn’t be easier!
Now on to that grilled cheese sandwich…
For comfort food emergencies, I don’t go the health food route.
I generally try to cook as healthy and low-fat as I can. This grilled cheese sandwich is a definite exception. Let’s face it: grilled cheese sandwiches were not invented to be health food. You can try to “health-ify” them with no-calorie cooking spray and low-fat cheese, but guess what?
You’re not going to want to eat them because they’ll taste like poo.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a treat, specially designed for times when you are in dire need of comfort food—like how I’m feeling right now (more on that here). They are meant to be guilty pleasures, not the main staples of your diet.
They’re ooey-gooey and delicious…and fattening. Deal with it. Work out extra-hard during the week so that you can treat yourself with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich on the weekend!
My favorite grilled cheese sandwich
I start with a couple slices of Texas toast. It’s simple, but the bread grills up nicely on the outside while retaining some nice, soft chew inside.
I don’t like a one-note grilled cheese sandwich, so I always use at least 2 types of cheese: one to confer ooey-gooey creaminess, while the other should bring some sharpness or other flavor complexity to the table. Swiss, Gruyere, havarti, or mozarella are a few cheeses that fit the meltiness bill. I’d suggest pairing that with a sharper cheese–for example, cheddar, feta, or provolone. Personally, I like a combination of havarti and sharp cheddar cheese. The last time I made these sandwiches, I was feeling adventurous and also threw in some provolone.
IT WAS AWESOME.
The conundrum with grilled cheese is that it’s hard to achieve the perfect degree of meltiness in the interior of the sandwich without overcooking the outside. But Phil and I have figured that out.
I credit the hubster for the critical discovery of the perfect bread-preparation method: he puts the slices in the toaster oven with the broiler on for a minute, just to slightly toast the bread on one side (the one that will be INSIDE the sandwich). Then he applies the cheese (yep, he uses BOTH slices) and sets the bread back under the broiler for a few moments to kick-start the melting process.
The bread slices come out of the toaster and get topped with whatever additions we decide we’re in the mood for (see below), and then the two halves get together. We lightly butter the outside of the sandwich–yes, BUTTER–and put it in a pre-heated skillet over medium flame. We let the sammies hang out long enough to develop a nice, brown crust, then flip and repeat on the other side.
Ooey-gooey deliciousness achieved.
UPDATE: about the bread. Texas Toast is awesome. But homebaked bread is…AWESOMER. Yes, I realize that baking bread doesn’t quite fit in with the Flipped-Out Food MO, but James Lahey’s no-knead bread comes close, especially if you do it on the weekend for a special treat. Here’s the thing about this bread: it’s light and airy, with lots of holes. You know how sometimes, the ooey-gooey-melty cheese finds a hole that goes all the way through the bread? Then it oozes out and gets a tad bid caramelized in the pan? I’m drooling just thinking about it…
For all you food-porn addicts out there, here’s a video of my freshly baked loaf cooling on a rack (crank the volume so you can hear it crackling!):
Optional toppings for your grilled cheese sandwich
Here are some additions we’ve come up with to gussy up your grilled cheese. I’d recommend only 1 or 2, since you don’t want to overpower the cheese. I have to admit that, after trying most of these, I prefer the grilled cheese by itself (with bacon running a close second).
- Bacon. Because, well…BACON.
- Caramelized onions
- Roasted red peppers
- Arugula (wilts just ever so slightly for an awesome flavor
- Jam (i.e., strawberry)
This last weekend we treated ourselves to grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup. It was 7 degrees outside, but we felt no pain. I hope you enjoy your comfort food treat as much as we did! This is one dish that you probably don’t need a recipe for…but here’s one anyway. Enjoy!
- For each sandwich:
- 2 slices of Texas Toast
- ~1 oz. of melting cheese (enough to cover the bread)
- ~1 oz. of sharp cheese such as cheddar or provolone
- Optional toppings:
- Cooked bacon
- Caramelized onions
- Roasted red peppers
- Strawberry jam
- Heat the broiler in your toaster oven (or regular oven). Place the bread slices (for the top AND bottom of the sandwich) under the broiler until slightly toasted. Remove the slices and top with your cheeses of choice (I put cheese on both the top and bottom slice to get maximum meltiness). Place back under the broiler until the cheese begins to melt.
- Heat a skillet (I like cast iron) over medium flame. Remove the bread slices from under the broiler and add any additional toppings you want. Put the top and bottom slices together and apply a light layer of butter to the top and bottom surfaces of the sandwich.
- Grill the sandwich in the skillet until well browned on one side. Flip and repeat on the other side. Serve with roasted tomato soup for a warm-fuzzy comfort food feast.
|A Time for Comfort Food|
|Roasted Tomato Soup|