KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Grilled Cheese, Please!
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Take 5 with Mario Nocifera
The Farmers' Market in Winter
Bonne Année de Paris! A Parisian New Year's Eve
A Christmas FoodFest in Portland
Ring in 2006 with Lemony Snicket
We Wish You a Merry Cheesemas
Take 5 with Jennie Schacht
Adventures with the Zuni Chicken
Loose Your Senses at Sensi
Check, Please! Bay Area: Episode 4
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Grilled Cheese, Please!

So, what do you do with leftover cheese after throwing several fondue parties of biblical proportions? Make grilled cheese, of course.

I've long been a lover of grilled cheese. It was my favorite lunch growing up. In fact, there was a time that it was the only lunch I would eat. My mother would butter up some white bread, slap in some Kraft American Cheese Slices, and fry it all up in her black cast iron pan. When I turned eight and had subsequently developed a more discerning taste, I would request that my mother pop in onions or sliced dill pickles or tomatoes. If I was feeling really experimental? I'd got for all three at once.

These days I like my grilled cheese pretty pure and simple, but I also go for a higher caliber cheese than Kraft. Don't get me wrong, there's a time and a place for Kraft cheese. I mean, both Kraft American Cheese Slices and pre-shredded bagged cheddar satisfies my late-night, deadline-driven cravings for trashy cheese, but when it comes to my grilled cheese sandwiches, I go gourmet.

First thing to remember is that you want a good melting cheese for your sandwich. Even if it weren't the case that we had recently made floods of fondue and had gobs of Gruyère lying around, Gruyère is still my grilled cheese cheese of choice. My COC, as it were. Emmi Cave-Aged Gruyère has a nutty, intense flavor with a touch of sweetness that actually balances very well well with sourdough bread. Other semi-soft cheeses I might use are Comte, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Raclette, or even a summer milk Morbier. A few of my cheesemongering friends like to take their grilled cheese a step farther and mix their grated semi-soft cheese with a fresh cheese like chèvre or fromage blanc to get a really creamy consistency, but I haven't tried that yet.

A few of you out there might question my use of sourdough bread, but I specifically like using bread with lots of holes in it. That way, some of the cheese oozes down to the pan and makes crunchy orange patches all over the surface of the bread. Also keep in mind that to ensure even meltage (that's my own word, "meltage." Spread it around.) you want the cheese to be grated, not sliced.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Yield: 1 sandwich

Butter, softened at room temperature
Two 1/2-inch slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup grated Gruyère
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high head. Spread one side of each piece of bread with the softened butter and place one slice -- butter side down -- in the heated skillet.

2. In a large bowl, toss the pepper with the grated cheese and gently pile the cheese on the bread slice in the skillet. Put the other slice of bread on top of the grated cheese -- butter side up -- and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the sandwich and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Note: If the bread is a nice golden brown, but the cheese hasn't fully melted, lower the heat to medium and cook until the cheese melts. Make sure to flip the sandwich a few times to encourage even melting.


Anonymous Sue Young said...

Combine a mixture of mayo and mustard (such as dijon or whole grain), then spread on outside of each slice of bread; results in a crusty, tasty sandwich

1/05/2006 7:36 AM

Blogger Davina Baum said...

It's the season for melting cheese: The NYT did a creamily delicious piece on macaroni and cheese this week. Replace one starch with another: the cheese unites us all. (Though I don't subscribe to the author's assertion that American cheese is "the best for cooking.")

1/05/2006 10:43 AM

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

I just had a croque monsieur for dinner. whether the cheese is in the middle or melted on top, it's still the best! :-)

1/06/2006 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One quick suggestion...

if you decide to use butter (mayo can be better), just throw it on the pan allowing it to melt. That way you don't have to spread the butter onto the bread. Give it an even distibution.

- Lawt Trash

5/06/2006 10:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another suggestion...after buttering the bread, grate a light dusting of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over it and pop the skillet (you are using a cast iron skillet for this, aren't you?) onto the bottom oven shelf under the broiler. It adds another flavor that's terrific.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

1/12/2007 2:42 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.