Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

It's been overcast and yesterday it rained a bit. It definitely looks as though autumn is coming, which means the advent of grilled cheese season! I'm something of a grilled cheese conoisseur, especially on rainy days; I love them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with soup or salad or just on their own. They make portable rushing-out-the-door meals and they're also great to savor slowly by the window.

The trick to a perfect grilled cheese, by the way, is to slow-grill the sandwich in real butter over low heat. Once one side is cooked, move the sandwich to a plate, drop in another little pat of butter (about 1/4 to 1/2 Tbsp per side) and let it melt, then put the sandwich back in with the uncooked side down. The second side will cook a bit more quickly than the first, so keep an eye on it. But don't slice your cheese too thick and don't let the pan get too hot, or the butter will burn and the bread will turn black before the cheese melts. It goes without saying, of course, that you should always use real cheese! If you can get Tillamook Cheese where you are, that's the one to use. There is never any excuse for Velveeta or anything else that says "Cheese Product" on the label.

At the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon, you can get the most basic grilled cheese in the world, just cheddar on white bread. But dip it in a bit of neon yellow mustard and it will take you back to that little happy place in your brain, that place you first discovered when you were about five and you knew all was right in your little world.

For more adult occasions, I love to dress up grilled cheese. I've spent several years playing around with it, and yesterday I discovered my new ultimate favorite. You simply have not had a grilled cheese sandwich until you've done it this way:

Homemade whole wheat polenta bread,
White Irish cheddar, and
Homemade tomato-chile jam,
Grilled in just a little bit of real butter.

Other past favorites:

Cinnamon-raisin bread
Very sharp cheddar
THIN (very thin) slice of red apple

Garlic bread
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Mozzarella and/or asiago
Good quality pesto

Sourdough bread (or walnut bread if you can get it)
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Creamy gouda
Sprinkling of bleu cheese or feta
THIN-THIN-THIN sliced pear
(eat the rest of the pear on the side)

What's your favorite grilled cheese? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Your grilled cheese sandwiches are my favorite. Is that a bit of a cheat?