Three Ways to Delicious Grilled Cheese

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April is National Grilled Cheese Month.  Hopefully you’ve prepared accordingly.  Your griddle is well-seasoned, butter remains on the counter in a perfect spreading state, and you have cheese that is NOT pre-sliced with a thin sheet of plastic in your refrigerator.

I know what you’re thinking.  When did she become the food snob?  I promise I’m not.   Come spy on me in a moment of weakness and you’ll find me dipping a grilled cheese with the classic and oh-so-gooey American cheese in ketchup of all things. Clearly, I’m one with the people.

Yet when I was asked to make grilled cheese to celebrate National Grilled Cheese month on Charlotte Today, I couldn’t help putting on the ritz and came up with three very different recipes.  One sandwich features prosciutto, Granny Smith apples, and brie, the other celebrates pimento cheese with the additions of tomato and bacon, and the last recipe is a French-inspired Gruyère grilled cheese with sautéed mushrooms and thyme.  You won’t need a white-tablecloth to serve these sandwiches, but I think you’ll enjoy these company-worthy and oh-so tasty variations to the traditional grilled cheese.

There are two rules to making ridiculously good grilled cheese sandwiches.  The first is butter.  Don’t use substitutes and don’t omit it.  Forget the waistline and the calories.  If you are going to make a grilled cheese, revel in it.  Buy the best butter you can buy and smear it on both sides of whatever bread you are using.   Don’t be timid.  Love you some butter.

The next trick involves heat control.  I think of this as the Goldilocks situation.  Too hot, means burnt bread and cold cheese.  Too cold and you’ll get a soggy sandwich that never browns and cheese that takes forever to melt.  Just right, equals grilled cheese heaven.

If I’m using a griddle, things are easy.  I aim to heat my griddle to around 375 to 400 degrees and then I cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes.   The result is a toasted, golden brown sandwich with cheese that oozes out the sides.  If using a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pot, heat management will be a little trickier.  I find that preheating the pan on medium and then turning it down just a tad after you add the sandwich yields a delicious grilled cheese.  You’ll need to practice to get it just right.  Fortunately, that’s not a problem as you’ve got three grilled cheese recipes to try.

Having trouble choosing which one to make first?  Mango (Chris Kattan) was on Charlotte Today this morning and he picked the Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto, Apple and Brie for his lunch.  How’s that for an endorsement?!?

3 Delicious Ways to Make a Grilled Cheese – Printer Friendly Recipes

Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto, Brie and Apple
Makes 2 very cheesy sandwiches

4 slices bread (sourdough is my personal favorite, but get creative)
2 tablespoons good quality butter, softened
4-6 thinly sliced pieces of brie (rind can be left on), about 3 ounces
4 prosciutto slices
8 thinly sliced Granny Smith apple slices

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat (ideally between 350 and 400 degrees).  Butter one side of each slice of bread generously with the butter.  Divide the cheese, prosciutto, and Granny Smith apple slices between the two sandwiches and top with the remaining buttered slices of bread.

Use a spatula to transfer the sandwich to the skillet.  Cook each sandwich for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted and golden.  Cut in half and serve immediately.

The Southern Grilled Cheese with Pimento Cheese
Makes 2 very cheesy sandwiches

This sandwich stands on its own with a heaping helping of pimento cheese, but make it really stand out by adding some crispy bacon and some ripe tomatoes.
4 slices bread (sourdough is my personal favorite but get creative)
2 tablespoons good quality butter, softened
1/3 to ½ cup My Three Sons TM Gourmet Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
2 slices cooked and very crispy bacon (optional)
4 thinly sliced tomato slices (optional)

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat (ideally between 350 and 400 degrees).  Butter one side of each slice of bread generously with the butter.  Divide the pimento cheese, bacon, and tomato slices between two slices of buttered bread and top with the remaining buttered slices of bread.

Use a spatula to transfer the sandwiches to the skillet.  Cook the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted and golden.  Cut in half and serve immediately.

A French-Inspired Grilled Cheese
Makes 2 very cheesy sandwiches

4 slices bread (sourdough is my personal favorite, but get creative)
2 tablespoons good quality butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil or good quality butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme
4-6 slices of Gruyère cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat (ideally between 350 and 400 degrees).  Butter one side of each slice of bread generously with the butter.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until soft.   Stir in the thyme and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the Gruyère cheese and mushrooms between two slices of buttered bread.  Spread Dijon mustard on the unbuttered side of each of the remaining slices of buttered bread and place atop the mushrooms and Gruyère.

Use a spatula to transfer the sandwiches to the skillet.  Cook the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted and golden.  Cut in half and serve immediately.

2 comments

  1. I used to have monthly dinners with my girlfriends, and one of the first meals I made was homemade spicy tomato soup with grilled cheese and pesto panini sandwiches (with a little mayo in there too!). Nothing fancy, but that is the one meal my friends talked about the most! It’s still a favorite of theirs – especially in the cold Midwest winters! Cheers to a great sandwich!

    Like

  2. Yum! That sounds delicious. And you are right, often times it’s the really good recipes for “simple” stuff that leave the biggest impression!

    Like

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