Classic grilled cheese is trendy again

The classic grilled cheese sandwich is trendy again

Kansas City StarOctober 30, 2012 

  • Guidelines for great grilled cheese • Grate the cheese. It melts better. • Thick cheese and thin bread is the best ratio. • Spread butter on the bread, not the pan. • Stick with nonstick pans, mostly. • Flatten slightly with a spatula while grilling. • Cool it, then eat it. It’s a simple step that avoids molten cheese burns in your mouth, and it allows the flavor to develop. Source: “Grilled Cheese, Please!” by Laura Werlin
  • The Little Muenster From Brian Stockholm, chef-owner of the food truck Papi Queso Streatery in Charlotte. He suggests taking the butter and cheese out of the refrigerator when you start cooking the bacon, so the cheese will melt more evenly. Butter, softened 2 (3/4-inch-thick) slices of bread, preferably French Pullman, savory brioche or sourdough 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish 4 slices muenster cheese 2 to 3 slices cooked bacon, preferably thick-cut artisan-style To taste: Fresh fines herbs (parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil), kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper PREHEAT a cast-iron skillet or griddle for medium. Assemble the sandwich by buttering the outside of the bread. BRUSH a thin coating of mustard on one piece of bread. Brush a thin, even coating of horseradish on the other slice. (Stockholm notes that a little goes a long way, so use the mustard and horseradish sparingly.) PLACE two slices of muenster on each slice of bread. Season with salt, pepper and fines herbs (if using). Place the bacon in the center and place the bread together, pressing lightly and tucking in any stray edges of cheese or bacon. PLACE the sandwich on the skillet and cook until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Cut in half diagonally and serve. Yield: 1 sandwich.
  • Pesto Grilled Cheese From This grilled cheese recipe opts for slices and sneaks a little bit of pesto and a slice of tomato into the melt. 2 slices Italian bread 1 tablespoon softened butter, divided 1 tablespoon prepared pesto sauce, divided 1 slice provolone cheese 2 slices tomato 1 slice American cheese SPREAD one side of a slice of bread with butter, and place it, buttered side down, into a nonstick skillet over medium heat. SPREAD the top of the bread slice in the skillet with half the pesto sauce and place a slice of provolone cheese, tomato slices and the American cheese onto the pesto. SPREAD remaining pesto on one side of the second slice of bread, and place the bread slice, pesto side down, onto the sandwich. Butter the top of the sandwich. GENTLY FRY the sandwich, flipping once, until both sides of the bread are golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes per side. YIELD: 1 sandwich
  • Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches This recipe from uses the oven to take the chore out of making multiple sandwiches. 18 slices bread 4 tablespoons butter 9 slices cheddar cheese PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees. Butter one side of 9 slices of bread, and place butter side down on a baking sheet. Arrange cheese on each slice of bread. Spread butter on 9 remaining slices of bread, and place them buttered-side up on top of the cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and bake 6 to 8 minutes longer, or until golden brown. YIELD: 9 sandwiches
  • Mozzarella With Crispy Prosciutto And Broccoli Rabe From “Grilled Cheese Please!” by Laura Werlin (Andrews McMeel). This one is gourmet all the way. 8 thin slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces) 1/4 cup olive oil 12 ounces broccoli rabe (about 1 bunch), tough stems removed, and coarsely chopped (or use Swiss chard or Tuscan kale) 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/8 teaspoon salt 8 sandwich-size slices Italian bread (or sourdough) 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced if water-packed; otherwise, coarsely grated HEAT a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and line a plate with paper towels. Add the prosciutto slices to the skillet (you may need to do this in batches) and cook until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. The prosciutto will become crisper as it cools. ADD enough oil to make 2 tablespoons fat in the pan. Heat over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the broccoli rabe. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, tender and bright green, yet caramelized around a few of the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. (Add water if it seems dry.) Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and toss to coat. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a plate. Wipe out the skillet but don’t wash it. BRUSH the remaining oil on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread, oil side down, on your work surface. Distribute the broccoli rabe and follow with the prosciutto. Pile the cheese on top, pressing with your hand if necessary, and top with the remaining bread slices, oil side up. HEAT a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the undersides are golden brown. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly. COVER and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the undersides are well browned. REMOVE the cover, turn the sandwiches once more, and press firmly with the spatula once again. Cook for 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted completely. REMOVE from the pan and cool for 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve. YIELD: 4 sandwiches

This is a very cheesy story about the resurgence of a favorite grilled sandwich.

Most of us have fond memories of the classic our mothers used to make – a slice of American cheese melted between two slices of white bread. Margarine, not butter, was the grease of choice for a crisp exterior.

The results, always so warm and comforting, might as well be imprinted on our DNA.

Wait. You need a recipe? Truth is, I felt a bit silly searching for recipes. I mean, who on Earth – OK, this country at least – doesn’t know how to make grilled cheese?

Then I found a recipe for Bachelor Grilled Cheese: Pop two pieces of white bread into a toaster, brown; insert two slices of cheese, wrap sandwich in a paper towel and microwave for 15 or 20 seconds until cheese is melted.

It’s not that hard to butter bread and cook it in a pan on the stove. Still, 90 fans of rated the Bachelor recipe with 4 and 3/4 stars out of a possible 5.

We can’t all eat grilled cheese in the comfort of our own homes if we’re ever going to get this economy pumping again, so some clever chefs are trying to lure us out the door with, you guessed it, lots of melted cheese.

From the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco to Cheeseboy in Boston and the in-between Feelgood in Austin, Texas, grilled cheese restaurants are hot.

Why would chefs feel compelled to put their stamp on the Simple Simon of sandwiches?

Uncomplicated foods can elicit some of the greatest debate, according to Laura Werlin, a cheese expert and author of “Grilled Cheese, Please!” Should you use cheese slices or grated cheese? Thick or thin bread? Butter or margarine, mustard or mayo, olive oil or vegetable oil? Salt or no salt? An additional filling or just a combination of cheeses?

Thanks to a steady supply of artisanal breads and farmstead cheeses, Americans are clearly ripe for more on the subject.

“Grilled cheese, the movement, has arrived,” says Werlin.

For a printable copy of the recipes, click the links:

Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Pesto Grilled Cheese

Mozzarella with Crispy Prosciutto and Broccoli Rabe

The Little Muenster

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