Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This isn’t something you need a recipe for, but I just made a
minor adjustment to the way I make them, so I thought I’d blog
about it and maybe it would inspire you to make an adjustment to
yours. (Or to comment about how you do it instead.)

Short of incinerating the bread, there isn’t much you can do
wrong, after you’ve bought or baked the right kind of bread and
cheese.

The bread should be sliced, or sliceable, into even,
sandwich-depth slices. The cheese has to be the hard kind that
can be sliced with a knife, and the kind that melts. Some
people think it’s more fun if it’s the kind that elongates into
a string when it’s melted and you pull on it. Otherwise, just
make sure that both the bread and the cheese are something you
like eating — if you don’t like them raw, they aren’t going to
get any better cooked.

These days, I’m using When Pigs
Fly
New York Rye bread, and whatever sharp
cheddar cheese was on sale the last time I shopped for cheddar
cheese.

Take a slice of bread out of the freezer. You do keep your
bread in the freezer, don’t you? Unless you have a large family
that eats toast for breakfast and/or sandwiches for lunch every
day, your bread usage is probably small and erratic enough that
you should.

Turn the heat on medium under your favorite skillet or frying
pan. Butter one side of the bread and put that side on the
skillet.

Slice enough cheese to cover the bread, and put it on the
unbuttered side of the bread in the skillet. (If you’re adding
something like slices of apple or onion, put them on before the
bread, but I usually make grilled cheese when I can’t stand the
idea of cooking complicated enough to need slicing things.)

Here’s my new innovation: put the cover on the skillet. Before
I started doing this, I often had a fair amount of burned
surface on the bottom of the bread before the cheese
melted.

Leave it until the cheese is melted, maybe 5 minutes, but keep
checking. If you smell the bread burning, it’s gone too far.

You will notice that this is an open-faced sandwich. I decided
a few years ago that it was a lot easier to get the right ratio of
filling to bread that way, and I make all my sandwiches that way
these days. I would change this if I needed to pack them, but
nobody packs grilled cheese.

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