TIPS FROM THE PROS: “GRILLED” CHEESE SANDWICHES
May 7, 2012
Today we’re putting the “grill” back in grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s right, we’re throwing out mom’s butter laden pan and bringing the heat with several unique twists on this classic comfort dish.
While the thought of cooking a pressed sandwich directly over live fire might be a little intimidating at first, a few simple tips and a couple practice rounds will have you knocking out monster meals in no time.
1) Keep it clean. Make sure to clean and oil your grill grate prior to cooking in order to ensure it remains stick-free.
2) Butter them up. An even layer of softened butter or margarine added to both sides of the sandwich not only helps create a non-stick surface, it also adds to that classic grilled cheese sandwich flavor.
3) Even Stephen. When preparing grilled sandwiches, try to maintain consistent medium heat across the entire cooking surface in order to avoid uneven cooking. Turning the sandwiches every few minutes (for a total of 4-5 minutes per side) will also ensure consistent color and cooking.
4) We’ve gotcha covered. Remember, the more oxygen you introduce to the fire, the more likely you are to have flare-ups (and the likelihood of burnt sandwiches).
5) Pressed for success. By adding some weight to the top of the sandwich, you not only expedite the cooking of your fillings, you also create that classic pressed sandwich crunch. A medium sauce pan or a foil covered brick are perfect weights for pressing down sandwiches as they grill.
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, the rest is up to you. Experiment with different types of breads, play with different styles of cheese, and get a little crazy with additional add-ons such as meats, sandwich spreads, veggies and more! Here’s four of my favorite “grilled” cheese twists for a little added inspiration:
The New Yorker featuring whole grain mustard, Swiss cheese and pastrami on rye bread. This is my grilled cheese twist on a classic Manhattan deli sandwich.
The double cheddar traditional grilled cheese on white bread. Add a few slices of sharp cheddar and some grated white cheddar to two slices of buttered white bread and you’ll soon be scouring the pantry for a hearty bowl of tomato soup.
The Breakfast Griller with bacon, sharp cheddar and fig jam on a plain bagel. This a.m. spin on grilled cheese sandwiches is made possible by slicing approximately 1/8” off of the top and bottom of the bagel in order to create a more even cooking surface.
The Italian with marinara sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni on Italian bread. By far my kids’ favorite of the bunch, this sandwich takes their favorite pizza flavors and puts them in a grilled sandwich form.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor