Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwiches are popular with younger children who’s tastes haven’t matured enough to appreciate some of the finer foods such as Sloppy Joes or onion rings. In fact, I consider the grilled cheese sandwich to be the cheese pizza of sandwiches.

Many grilled cheese sandwiches are made from American cheese, but that’s a whole different can of worms that I won’t be discussing in this post. You can however, check out that link if you want to learn more about American cheese. It’s packed with tons of great information. The post not the cheese.

Most grilled cheese sandwiches follow a simple model. Two pieces of buttered bread are placed on a hot skillet or in a hot pan (butter side down) and some sort of cheese is placed on the open faces of the bread and allowed to melt. The bread of choice will ideally crisp up and turn a golden brown due to the butter. If the bread is too thick, additional melt time may be required in which case the cheese topped bread will be briefly placed under a broiler.

Heat plays an important role in the process of constructing the optimal grilled cheese sandwich. If the temperature is too hot, the cheese will not sufficiently melt before the butter begins to smoke. If this happens, chances are good that your bread will have become too burned to use. Unfortunately, the prudent action – if that is indeed the case – would be to chuck the whole thing and begin from scratch.

Some brave individuals have been known to take a sturdy utensil such as a butter knife and actually scrape the burned part off the toast and continue forging ahead as if nothing were wrong. Although, this could be more hearsay than actual fact.

(Vanessa Adds – My family had a motto, “Scrape it ’til you like it.”)

I have a few guidelines I like to follow when cooking grilled cheese sandwiches at home. Most cheeses are okay to use; specifically the ones that come pre-sliced from the grocery store. Other more exotic cheeses such as blue cheese may or may not work.

The pan absolutely must preheat over medium heat. This is the correct temperature for me. It sufficient for melting the cheese but not burning the bread.

In addition, if the cheese I’m using at the time comes in square slices, but is not adequately large enough to cover the surface area of the bread, I will place one slice of cheese at the top of one piece of bread and another slice of cheese on the very bottom of the opposite piece of bread. This insures, complete cheese coverage upon completion of sandwich. If using round slices that are adequately large enough to cover the surface area of the bread, they will be centered on that piece of bread and no further action will be required.

If anyone steps in and offers to make the grilled cheese sandwich in my stead, but deviates from the recommended courses of action outlined above,  I will consider it a null sandwich and won’t have anything to do with it. I simply can’t deal with it.

(Again, I add, he’s not kidding in the least. -Vanessa)