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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Grilled Cheese

grated-cheddar-dreamstime_19387653-230
Shred the cheese first. Daryl Brooks |
Dreamstime.
 

Grilled cheese sandwiches, one of America’s favorites, are pretty easy to make,. Yet they’re not problem free.

Sometimes, the cheese does not melt evenly or quickly. This is especially true when you hand-slice quality cheese from a block, as opposed to using thin, easy-melting plastic-wrapped singles.

So here’s an easy, fast and foolproof tip for grilled cheese success: Shred the cheese first. It takes only a minute, and cooks so much better.

The other key to grilled cheese success (as we define it) is superior cheese and bread. To many people, American cheese singles on white bread does the trick.

Here, that trick doesn’t even get cursory consideration! We demand great cheese and bread (personal preference: a rustic, chewy loaf).

 
RECIPE: FOOLPROOF GRILLED CHEESE

Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2-3 ounces cheese
  • Optional ingredients: bacon, chutney, pickles, tomato, etc.
  • Preparation

    1. BRING the butter to room temperature. If you’re making more than one sandwich, preheat the oven to 350°F so you can keep the first sandwich(es) warm.

     

    2. SHRED the cheese roughly, like pizza cheese. We used a vegetable peeler.

    3. PREHEAT a heavy skillet over medium heat. Slice the bread.

    4. SPREAD one side of both slices of bread with the softened butter. Be sure the butter is spread generously and evenly over the surface.

    5. PLACE one piece of bread, butter-side down, into the hot pan. The butter will sizzle when it hits the heat. Top the bread with the shredded cheese. Add any other ingredients. Top with the second piece of bread, butter side up. Lightly press with a spatula.

    6. CHECK the bottom slice after a minute. If the underside is golden brown, flip the sandwich and cook until the second slice is equally golden.

    7. STASH in the oven to keep the sandwich warm while you’re making the next sandwich. If the cheese is not completely melted before, it will finish melting in the oven.

     

    grilled-cheese-calphalon-WS-230
    Making grilled cheese sandwiches in a nonstick Calpahlon grill pan. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    TRADER JOE’S TRUFFLED CHEDDAR CHEESE

    We picked up Trader Joe’s Farmhouse English Cheddar Cheese with Italian Truffles yesterday. At $9.99 a pound, it’s twice the price of the Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar Cheese we also purchased. But it’s an affordable luxury, and has good truffle flavor.

    Paired with some sliced rustic sourdough bread from Le Pain Quotidien, it made a most satisfying grilled cheese sandwich. The truffle flavor is a big flavor boost; but for our second sandwich we added some caramelized onions that we had in the fridge. Equally good!

    The folks at Sam Adams recently sent us some Rebel IPA, an India Pale Ale made in the West Coast style. It was a perfect complement to our grilled cheese sandwiches.

    What’s a West Coast IPA?

    East Coast IPAs have a stronger malt presence to balance the intensity of the hops. West Coast IPAs showcase the hops more.

    According to Wikipedia, East Coast breweries rely more on spicier European hops and specialty malts than West Coast. According to us: Both are delicious.
      




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