What is your favorite grilled cheese?
To this day, I still get a hankering for a slice of American “cheese” between two slices of white bread. Sometimes, even though I know it’s not actually cheese but simply made from cheese, I need to have the grilled cheese my Mom made.
April is National Grilled Cheese Month. I’m not sure who decided this but it’s everywhere. Every news outlet, every food blog, I mean it’s everywhere. So I figured I had to do something. And since I am always extolling the virtues of cheese I felt it my obligation to participate.
The fact is, though I hold a Kraft Single grilled cheese in high nostalgic esteem, a grilled cheese sandwich is always better with real cheese.
What are the ground rules when it comes to grilled cheese? Well, there is only one rule — don’t put cheese on the outside of the bread, period.
Ok, it’s just me. I don’t get it. I want the cheese to be creamy and melt. The only thing that should be crispy is the bread and maybe a little cheese that melts over the side of the bread. That’s it. Just they way I see it.
There are several ways to toast your sandwich. The three most common are grilled (usually on a flat griddle or a pan), pressed (with a sandwich press) or broiled (in an oven toasted open face and then put together).
All of these methods work well. I prefer grilled, not only for the nostalgia but the even cooking and almost universal presence of a pan in any kitchen. I use butter on both sides of the bread and I cook the sandwich on a medium heat.
Slow is the name of the game. If it takes six to 10 minutes to cook your grilled cheese, that is great. Don’t be afraid to flip either. The key is to brown and crisp and flipping helps keep the browning under control.
If you are worried about your cheese not melting before the bread browns too much feel free to slap a lid on for a couple minutes.
So what cheese do I use? I have several favorites but really if it melts, go for it.
My top 10 cheeses for Grilled Cheese:
• Point Reyes Toma from California
• Comte from France
• Cottonwood River Cheddar from Kansas
• Paglierino from Italy
• Prairie Breeze Cheddar from Iowa
• Humboldt Fog from California
• Ossau Iraty from France
• Scharfe Maxx from Switzerland
• Gouda with Black Pepper Corns from the Netherlands
• Cotswold from England
If you have to have something other than cheese in your grilled cheese, here are my top 5 additions.
• Spanish corizo
Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam from Stonewall Kitchen
• Tomato Preserves from The Better Cheddar
• Ripe tomatoes
• Fig jam
Hopefully this is enough to get you in the mood for National Grilled Cheese Month.
Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbook and on Instagram @lincycheese.