Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Last night on Twitter a fierce battle broke out. It concerned what duty we owe to our fellow man and the nature of empathy. No, I'm shitting you, of course. What it actually had to do with was how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. If you thought ISIS was bad get a load of some of these psychopaths. We had people buttering the bread first, there was some kind of talk about cheese curds, and one freakshow kindly, albeit misinformed, citizen said to put olive oil in the pan.  I had no idea people were so fucked up.

It's cool, I can help.

Liv Tyler eating a grilled cheese.  From Mario Batali's Instagram, apparently.  I just Googled "Liv Tyler eating a grilled cheese" to find it.  
A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH, despite its name, is not prepared on a grill, but in a 10-12" saute pan.  There are three ingredients: bread, cheese, and butter.  Olive oil is not an ingredient.  Mayonnaise is not an ingredient. Chipotle aioli is not an ingredient.  Maybe those are ingredients in some kind of grilled sandwich, but not a grilled cheese.

BREAD.  You can use a wide variety of breads to make a grilled cheese.  The Classic GC is on white bread, and if that's your steeze, Orowheat Buttermilk White does a fine job.  Sourdough also makes an excellent GC.  Try Beckmann's California Sourdough, which is fantastic.

You can use other kinds of bread, too.  Dill rye makes a nice GC with aged swiss (as discussed below), although that is certainly a nontraditional GC.  Wheat is usually fine.  Sliced brioche is heavenly, since each slice of brioche is made with about a stick of butter anyway.

Type of bread you can't make a GC with: hot dog or hamburger buns, sandwich rolls, biscuits, croissants, those weird hard little dinner rolls, banana bread or any other fruit bread (which really aren't bread anyway but cakes but I'm wildly digressing now).

CHEESE.  God has given us many cheeses; use them.  The classics, of course, are cheddar and American, but like I said, swiss on rye is a great GC.  I think the Classic GC is American on white bread, but smoky sharp cheddar on sourdough is a [insert 100 emoji] sandwich.  Smoked gouda on almost any bread.  Don't use mozzarella.  It's too stringy and doesn't belong in a GC anyway.

BUTTER.  Use butter.  Not oil, butter.


Here's where shit went south online.  It appears, to my horror, that some people believe you should butter the bread, then put it in the pan.  This is an absurd waste of time that will just end up shredding the bread like wiping dog feces on onionskin.  Do people who do this just enjoy doing everything in the most difficult fashion possible?  Do you boil one penne at a time?  I guess you toast a bagel and then SMASH IT facedown into a pile of cream cheese and hope some cream cheese sticks.  Lunacy.

Let me make it easy for you.  Put a pan on a burner.  Adjust to medium-low heat.  Let it warm.  Place a pat of butter (about 1/2 tbsp) in the pan.  Enjoy it sizzling and melting.  Place your previously-assembled sandwich in the butter.  Slide it around a little for maximum coverage.  Cook for about a minute and hald, two minutes.  Lift up a corner with a spatula and look.  Is it golden brown, with a slight hint of darker crust forming around the edges?  If so, remove it from the pan.  Drop another 1/2 tbsp butter in.  When it melts (and it will be fast), put the sandwich back in, uncooked side down. Turn the heat down slightly.  Another 90 seconds to 2 minutes.  Voila.

There, was that so hard? 


GG said...

Light rye is also a good alternative for the bread. Not dark or marbled rye, obviously, unless you are a monster. It was nice of you not to reveal who suggested putting mayo on a grilled cheese because that person should go to jail.

Stephen said...

I read a recipe for grilled cheese from some source (Cook's Illustrated?) where, you know, they've tried 700 different techniques, 40 times each, and decided this is the ne plus ultra grilled cheese. It called for mayonnaise. I tried it. Bad.

TK said...

Yeah, I thought HOT MAYONNAISE would in and of itself be enough to discourage the practice but I guess not.

lmc said...

Except for putting the butter in the pan and not on the bread you are OK here!

Stoney said...

Deliciously OCD instructions. I think mayo is regional? I'm fine with olive oil or butter. They're different, but both okay. White bread only.

Rachel said...

I agree on the light rye, or even seeded rye for the bread.
Also make sure the heat is low enough that the butter doesn't start to burn.

Unknown said...

How do we feel about the addition of tomato slices or bacon?

TK said...

Rach - V. important re low heat, good point.

Adam - I'm not morally opposed, but you're starting to edge away from what a grilled cheese is.

Blogger said...

If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you need to watch this video
right away...

(VIDEO) Get your ex back with TEXT messages?

Blogger said...

Are you looking for free Twitter Re-tweets?
Did you know that you can get these ON AUTO-PILOT & ABSOLUTELY FREE by getting an account on Like 4 Like?