How to Elevate Your Next Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich?  Delicious melting gooey cheese, and crispy bread.  But it can be so much more!

This cool, frosty morning I made grilled ham and cheese for breakfast (we eat BLT’s for breakfast too – I know, it’s strange!).

Here’s some tips and ideas to make your next grilled cheese a bit better:

Use mayonnaise on the outside of the bread, not butter.  Mayo has a high smoke point, and therefore doesn’t burn as easily.  Think about it – mayo is nothing but oil and an egg and a bit of lemon juice .  Stay turned for my next column on how to make your own homemade mayo – with a blender! Mayo will lend a nice background flavor, and no burned bread.

To develop a unique, deeper cheese flavor, use more than one kind of cheese.  Please, forget the processed cheese spread.  It’s more oil than cheese.  Try Swiss or Gruyere, and combine it with mozzarella or cheddar. Maybe even smoke Gouda or grate on a hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.  Parmesan melts well too.

If you want some protein in it, add ham, cooked bacon or even thinly sliced roast beef.  I’ve not tried thinly sliced turkey or Prosciutto, but I imagine both would work well. Make a sweeter grilled cheese with a bit of jam or fresh figs – YUMMM!

On the inside of the sandwich, add some more flavor – mustard, ranch dressing or pesto  will add a whole new dimension.

And don’t forget, the bread can make all the difference – plain white bread is okay, but doesn’t have much nutritional value.  Oat, rye, or Whole wheat works great, and so will a thickly sliced homemade bread.

The How to Make a Grilled Cheese

Heat a medium sized cast iron pan on medium for a bit, and get the sandwich assembled while it heats.  Put a thin layer of mayo on the top slice once it’s put together.  When the skillet is hot enough to feel heat when you hold your hand over it, put in the sandwich mayo side down.  Then slather a little more mayo on the top side so it’s ready to flip.  A well season cast iron skillet will totally release the sandwich once browned.  I find the cast iron skillet makes a crispier bread than a nonstick skillet.  The first side may take a few minutes – too hot and ultimately it cooks too fast and will burn, so slow is better.  It also has more chance to warm and melt the cheeses.

Flip it over – this side usually doesn’t take as long to brown.

Then enjoy!

Please let me know your favorite combination that makes it your Ultimate Grilled Cheese!