The basic grilled cheese is something that needs to be mastered before you can venture into creating gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Choosing the right ingredients and mastering the cooking process are the keys to grilled cheese success.
1. Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, and Muenster Grilled Cheese on a Soft Pretzel 2. Pesto, Artichoke, and Havarti Grilled Cheese 3. Green Goddess Grilled Cheese 4. Leek and Mushroom Grilled Cheese 5. Corned Beef Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions
Choose bread from the bakery that is sturdy but not too dense. If it is thick, dense bread, your cheese will not melt. Sourdough works well, as do many other varieties, and sometimes day-old bread is better suited for a grilled cheese sandwich. I also suggest you opt for thinly sliced bread.
1. Bacon Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese 2. Roasted Strawberry, Brie + Chocolate Grilled Cheese 3. Broccoli & Cheddar Soup Grilled Cheese 4. Strawberry Bruschetta Grilled Cheese 5. Beet, Arugula and Goat Grilled Cheese
Any cheese or combination of cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, provolone, etc.) can be used to create your grilled cheese sandwich. Choose at least one that melts easily to achieve the gooey goodness that is the trademark of a grilled cheese. Slice the cheese into thin pieces ,or even grate it for the best results.
Apply real butter softened to room temperature to the outside of the bread slices. If it is not room temperature, the butter will not spread well, which may cause you to tear your bread. If you like, add a small amount of powdered sugar to the butter, which will create a golden crunch on the outside of your sandwich. This is my mom's secret grilled cheese ingredient. Another option is to use mayonnaise on the outside of the bread instead of butter.
1. Raspberry and Chocolate with Almonds Grilled Cheese 2. White Pizza Grilled Cheese 3. Italian Grilled Cheese 4. Spicy Mini Meatball Grilled Cheese 5. Sweet Pear and Rosemary Honey with Havarti Grilled Cheese
The "Low and Slow" Cooking Process
The key to success is to cook with a small amount of butter in a nonstick pan over low/medium heat. It takes longer, but the lower heat and the longer time help to create the perfect sandwich crust. This will also allow the cheese to completely melt. Cooking your sandwich for approximately four to five minutes on each side should be adequate. You can cover the pan to speed up the process, but leave it uncovered long enough to get the proper crispiness.
1. Grilled Figs and Cheese 2. Pizza Margherita Grilled Cheese 3. Roasted Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Grilled Cheese 4. Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, and Brie Grilled Cheese 5. Dulce de Leche and Mascarpone Dessert Grilled Cheese
Once you have mastered the basic grilled cheese, you can add extra ingredients to take your sandwich to the next level. Bacon, avocado, pulled pork, spinach, or pesto can turn an ordinary sandwich into an extraordinary gourmet grilled cheese creation. The addition of chocolate, figs, or berries can be used to create a sweet, gourmet grilled cheese. Vegetarian and even gluten-free creations are possible. The options are endless.
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