Thursday, November 08, 2007

Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich

On a chilly day in late autumn or winter, a lazy day when you “get around to” lunch at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, on a grey day when no sunlight dares cheer your kitchen, what you need is the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, and the homescent exercise of preparing one.

What is a perfect grilled cheese sandwich? There are three ingredients to a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Bread is the first ingredient. When the sandwich is done, the bread is crisp, light brown, and buttery on the outside while remaining mostly soft on the inside, moving toward cheesiness nearer the center of the sandwich. Cheese is of course the second ingredient. At eating the cheese should be liquid in the middle, with the soft rubbery texture of cooled cheese on the edges. Finally the crowning ingredient to a perfect grilled cheese sandwich is the margarine that coats, for full effect, the surface that will touch your tongue. After grilling, the margarine should be fully melted and resting in the crevices of the toasted bread.

How to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich using my stove.* Turn on one of the burners to medium high and immediately place a pan on top. Let it preheat while you prepare the sandwich. Take two relatively thick (3/4 inch) pieces of wheat sandwich bread and spread a thin layer of margarine over ONE side of each slice. Place butter-sides together. On top of this pre-sandwich, place one slice of Velveeta cheese (pre-sliced or self-sliced). Check temperature of pan by flicking room temperature water into the pan. If the drops bounce and sizzle quickly away, the pan is preheated. Lift the pan and use a non-stick cooking spray to coat it. Replace on stove.

All together take the top slice of bread and the cheese on top of it. Lift straight off the second slice of bread and set gently in the pan. Add the top slice of bread in the same way, ensuring that the buttered side is on top. Have ready a spatula for turning the sandwich. After about two minutes, flip the entire sandwich. At this point the cheese is not melted to the bread, so your sandwich will fall apart if you do not flip it quickly. Align pieces of bread, and ensure that no cheese is protruding over the new bottom slice of bread. If new top is now golden-brown, that side is done. Turn down stove to just above medium. Continue to cook for about two minutes. If both sides are golden brown, use spatula to remove from pan. If either is not golden brown, place that side down in the pan and cook for 30 seconds to one minute more.

At this point your sandwich should match the description at the top. I would not recommend slicing the sandwich, as it compresses the bread you intentionally left soft in the middle. My favorite serving suggestion is to add slices of grilled chicken such as you would put in a chicken salad, only warm, buttered**, and spiced (at least with pepper). Have oranges for the side and drink grape juice, preferably in a glass cup.
Lady with Electric Stove, Retro
Lady with Electric Stove, Retro

*If you are not using my stove, temperatures and times may vary. The idea is that you cook the outside quickly enough to make it crisp and golden brown without drying the inside of the bread. One difficulty in this is that at the same time you must be melting the cheese, so you must find a balance. Heating the sandwich in the microwave because the cheese was insufficiently melted is very unsatisfactory, as it turns the crisp outside edges of the sandwich soft.

**A health conscious person may decline butter in this instance and rather increase the herbs and spices to taste. For this I recommend one’s favorite blend of Mrs. Dash.

5 comments:

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Wouldn't you know it, less than a week after posting this we have a new stove, a birthday present for my mom. So, unless you want to buy my old stove, I can't invite you to use mine. I'll keep everyone posted on the updates to the procedure necessary using my new stove.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

åslaug said...

I've always wondered what a grilled cheese sandwich really was. Well, now I know.

I wonder, is it most suitable for breakfast or lunch?

Anyway, I'll have a try tomorrow! Thanks for enlightening me!

Soli Deo Gloria,
åslaug

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I can't imagine not knowing what a grilled cheese sandwich is! Your comment made me laugh.

I definitely eat these as lunch, not breakfast food. And you can do different kinds of cheeses for different tastes. I only like two kinds of cheese in the world, Velveeta and Mozarella, very American of me, and I don't know if you have access to Velveeta for your sandwich. But make do.

Let me know how it goes. = )
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

åslaug said...

I'm so glad I made you laugh =)
my lack of knowledge was a blessing to you, and I am very happy for that. Also, it's better with laughter than when people roll their eyes =)

I tried (for breakfast yesterday) and it turned out excellent (Crisp crust and soft center). The cheese I used was a bad choice, but I am sure it would have been wonderful with Norwegian cheese (they only had Irish cheese here, which is not quite the same).

I tried to make them with eggs today, though (I realize this doesn't qualify to the definition of a cheese sandwich), and that turned out well too =)

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I've heard these also called Toasted Cheese Sandwiches.

Wikipedia also says that they are called Cheese Toasties (in Britain, where various forms of toasties are popular).

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn