April 12, 2016

How To Make The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, food editor Kristen Eppich shares her favorite way to make the iconic sandwich. 
House & Home Food Editor Kristen Eppich

Instead of telling you what the best grilled cheese sandwich is, I’ve decided to share with you my favorite, and it’s shockingly simple. I call it the Salty-Sweet Gruyere Melter, and it goes a little like this:

  1. Slather one side of 2, ¾-inch slices of good, chewy white bread with 2 tsp butter each (yes I said it).
  2. Spread the opposite side of one piece of bread with 2 tsp honey. Spread the other with 1 tsp Dijon.
  3. Grate enough gruyere cheese to cover 1 side of 1 piece of bread by ¾ inches of cheese (about ½ cup). Sandwich so that the butter sides are on the outside.
  4. Heat a pan to low. Add sandwich to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until cheese starts to show the first signs of melting. Increase heat to medium and cook until bottom is golden. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes or until both sides are golden and cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from pan and let sit for 2-3 minutes before slicing.

So that’s my favorite, but I try to be very fair and consume all kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches. Here are some others that deserve honorable mention:

Throw-back: The grilled cheese I grew up with, circa 1985. Processed cheese that melts perfectly and evenly into a soft, mouth-coating, delicious gooeyness. Eat it while it’s hot, because it reverts back to its solid state very quickly. Dip in ketchup. Questionable, but delicious.

Uptown: For the grilled cheese eaters who want it all. Richness of flavor, good melting quality and a general decadence. Made with Taleggio, a soft Italian cheese, you’ll need to spread it on your bread before grilling, and grill quickly at a higher heat to keep it from running.

Edgy: Aged cheddar adds a sharp tang that plays nicely off the richness of butter-coated bread. Sharp cheddars are great with a touch of sweet chutney.

Stretchy: Smoked mozzarella and Fontina are good choices for those who want flavor as well as the stretchy stringiness of melted cheese.

Decadence: Super-soft cheeses like Camembert and Brie make the most decadent of grilled cheese sandwiches. To keep them from running right off the bread, combine them with another cheese to help keep them in place.

Soft and stinky: Crumbly cheeses such as feta, blue cheese, gorgonzola and ricotta soften more than they melt. They will get warm and mushy, but for the most part maintain their shape. Cook them slowly like the gruyere sandwich so that they adhere to the bread before flipping.