Sunday, April 19, 2009

That Is So Cheesy

Who doesn't love the grilled cheese sandwich? You can't tell me that back when you were a kid, your mom didn't prepare a grilled cheese sandwich at least once a week (I'm pretty sure mine did, though my memory is a bit, ahem, hazy). Along with PB&J and bologna (baloney?) , it was a kitchen staple. As a matter of fact, during my high school stoner days (like those ever ended), I was considered quite a cook when preparing a grilled cheese sandwich for the red-eyed crowd. Back then, it was usually prepared on white bread (Wonder, please) and the cheese was undoubtedly one of those cheese products (Kraft, thank you) that came individually wrapped in cellophane, though I do remember packages that were basically a whole bunch of slices wrapped together.

Interestingly enough, the grilled cheese sandwich is so retro-cool that now there are contests to find the best grilled cheese sandwich "recipe," if you can imagine that. Terrance Brennan, owner and head chef of Artisanal Bistro, just finished running one. I didn't enter it, but I like making the occasional grilled cheese sandwich just for the heck of it. And the other morning I did just that, after I asked Significant Eater what she felt like for breakfast and she answered "cheese toast." Cheese toast is not actually grilled cheese, by the way, it's toast with cheese on it. Different animal altogether. But I wanted something somewhat special that morning, so here goes.

To start with, I cooked up a few slices of pancetta; I mean grilled cheese with bacon - how bad could that be? Italian bacon - even better. I had a few types of cheese in the fridge, and settled on two - pictured above are good old cheddar (sharp) and Emmenthaler (Swiss will do) want cheeses that melt nicely. I also had homemade bread pre-sliced in the freezer, so I took 4 slices out to thaw, along with the butter to soften, while I was cooking the pancetta...

To assemble, butter the bread - the bread needs to be buttered on the outside, which helps it cook up nice and crispy. Oh sure, you can butter the inside of the bread as well, but I'm watching my cholesterol - pancetta and cheese are low cholesterol, no? Then, lay a few slices of cheese down, top with pancetta and then the rest of the cheese. See...

Of course, being the gadget guru that I am, I happen to have a little countertop appliance - the Cuisinart Griddler G4. Go ahead and scoff, but this is one of the best little countertop griddles available - for both panini and pancakes, it can't be beat. While I was assembling the bread, I was preheating the griddler - a light comes on when it's nice and hot. You can't see the light, but what the heck...

After about 5 - 6 minutes at medium heat, here's the result. Would it win a contest? I doubt it, because it certainly didn't have enough fancy schmancy stuff in it...

But without a doubt, Significant Eater and I enjoyed one of the best grilled cheese with bacon sandwiches that we ever had. For breakfast. Not even stoned. Just hungover. Mmmmmm....good.


  1. When Kristin and I lived together, we had to keep an industrial-sized block of cheddar in our fridge, because EVERY party we had ended in me drunkenly toasting up a grilled cheese for each drunkard in attendance. I can now make a grilled cheese with my eyes closed.

  2. When I grew up we didn't use 2 piece of bread (hey maybe we were on a budget), used one piece and grilled it under the broiler. So I still do that today, add mustard to the bread, a couple slices of tomato, a nice gruyere, salt, pepper and herbes de provence.

    Ok Mitch, not a fattening as yours, but how do think I keep my trim figure?

  3. Man, Ed, that is so NOT a jewish grilled cheese sandwich. Oy.

  4. Looks great, Tasty, but I think you need more cheese, no?-isn't it supposed to ooze out all over the place? I used to make GC all the time for Sumtain (post-sex munchies at 3AM) but without bacon of course(takes too long),or mustard(wtf?). At Henry's (on U St. in DC) they still sell grilled cheese for $1.50 I think. They use Holsum.