Grilled Cheese Made to Please

TIMEJanuary 28, 2014

Always a child’s delight, grilled cheese sandwiches are also popular with adults. Any meal that can be prepared and served within 15 minutes using less than 5 ingredients while still being somewhat wholesome and nutritious will be of interest to anyone with kids or just anyone on the go.

The great thing about this sandwich is that it can be as simple and fast as you like, using only bread and cheese, or you can get creative and doctor it up in a variety of ways that would satisfy even the most sophisticated of palates.

Simple and fast basic instructions

The quickest and easiest way to make a grilled cheese sandwich is to toast two slices of bread, put a slice or two of your favourite cheese between the two slices, and let the residual heat of the toast melt the cheese.

This method is probably satisfactory for anyone 10 and under, but it’s not really a grilled cheese sandwich.

The ‘right’ way

Melt a tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil in a skillet (or pan large enough to fit two slices of bread) on medium heat. After the butter/oil is melted, place the bread in the pan and grill both sides until brown (or to your likeness).

Place a slice of your favourite cheese on each piece of bread and turn the heat off. The cheese should melt in about two minutes. At this point you can sandwich the two slices together with the cheese in the middle or leave it open-faced.

You can also leave the sandwich in the pan for another minute or two, flipping it about every minute to let the cheese melt a bit more, or for the bread to grill a bit more. Remove the sandwich from the heat, cut it in half (optional) and enjoy (not optional)!

Creative Alternatives

Cheddar cheese and processed cheese slices are probably the two most common cheeses used for grilled cheese sandwiches. Any cheese can be used, but for the best results you want to select a cheese that melts easily and evenly, and one that can be sliced easily.

If you’re going to use a dry, hard cheese , such as Parmesan, Romano, or Manchego, or cheeses that easily crumble, like any of the blue cheeses, they require a little more finesse and are best if combined with another cheese that melts easily.

Otherwise, there are no strict rules. Try experimenting with different cheeses and breads to see what works the best for you. You can also try adding herbs or spreads to the sandwich to make it uniquely yours.

Here are two alternative recipe suggestions:

Brie and Berry

Follow the basic instructions above, but use sliced brie for the cheese. Before sandwiching the two sides together, add a layer of apricot, raspberry, or blueberry jam.

The Welsh Rarebit

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter
25 ml (1/8 cup) milk
5 ml (1 tsp) Worcestershire Sauce
15 ml (1 tbsp) ground mustard seed
175 g (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix on medium-low heat until the mixture forms into a spreadable consistency. Remove from heat and set aside. Follow the basic instructions (minus adding the cheese slices), remove the toast from the heat, add a liberal spread of the cheese mixture, and place in a toaster/convection oven or broiler until brown. Serve open-faced.

Andrew Darin