3 Tips for making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.
Everyone loves a good grilled cheese. Ooey, gooey, crisp, and it has to make that "snap-crunch" sound when you bite into it, from the toasty bread. Mmm. And I'm equal opportunity here - Kraft Singles on white bread? Sure. Gruyere and chevre on artisan sourdough? Check. No matter what combination of bread/cheese you choose, there are a few things you can do to ensure the perfect grilled cheese sandwich every time. And I'm about to share these tips with you. And it may be because I'm out of the loop or behind the times or whatever, but I only learned these tricks in the last year, so if these are old news to you and you've been chowing down on the perfect grilled cheese for years, feel free to scoff as you bite into your melty sandwich.
- Shred your cheese! This is really key. If you want a nice, even, smooth sandwich, grate that cheese. This is how we achieve even cheese distribution on the sandwich.
- Butter the bread, not the pan. Soften the butter just a bit, so it will spread nicely, and butter the outsides of your pieces of bread. It doesn't have to be slathered on there - I like a very thin, light spread - but getting a nice, even coating of butter (or oil, if you prefer, which I'd just brush on with a pastry brush) on the bread will ensure maximum toastiness. And remember - I do live in a toasty household, so I know my toast.
- Cover your sandwich while it cooks. I like to put my pan (I use a flat nonstick griddle pan) over medium-high heat, and let it get nice and hot before putting the sandwich on. Once your sandwich is on the pan, use a large glass pot lid (or I guess even a large glass bowl will work here if you don't have a pot lid) to cover your sandwich. Gone are the days of blackened, over-toasted bread and half-melted cheese - this "cover the sandwich" trick will enable your sandwich to cook nice and evenly, trapping in steam to really melt that cheese as the bread slowly toasts to a golden brown. Hungry yet?
And forgive me while I wax poetic on grilled cheese for a moment - because I really am a grilled cheese connoisseur - but in case you're in a rut and need some inspiration, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. Please return the favor - leave a comment - what's your favorite grilled cheese? Okay. In no particular order. In-N-Out grilled cheese animal style. It's...there aren't words. If I admitted that I actually have a (very small) print of this next photo hanging in my living room, would you think less of me?
Another favorite (and our household staple) is extra sharp cheddar on whole grain sourdough. But it has to be really sharp cheddar. So sharp that when you bite into it, it bites you back! I like it with tomato soup (and possibly ketchup and/or Sriracha on the side for extra dipping options).
Oooh, and the "vegetarian patty melt" - rye bread, jack cheese, a little dijon mustard, and grilled onions. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this - most likely because it got devoured before I could get to the camera.
So there you go. Go make a grilled cheese sandwich! And leave a comment - what's your favorite grilled cheese?