Chefs looking to master classic American cooking techniques have to know how to cook a great grilled cheese. Though this pedestrian dish may be written off as a quick dinner for kids after school, the grilled cheese has become one of the most gourmet sandwiches in the U.S. In fact, entire food trucks are dedicated to this delicious, cheesy item. Whereas once this infamous sandwich was no more than two slices of cheap sliced bread and a filmy piece of American cheese, now the grilled cheese has taken on a number of more complex forms and focuses on local, quality ingredients. Pair this fantastic melt with some homemade tomato soup, and you have yourself a fantastic meal. Here are some tips for taking your grilled cheese to the next level.
If you’re still learning how to bake bread, find a good local bakery to get bread that is made fresh daily. This will also give you an opportunity to try out some different loaves until you find the perfect kind of bread to make your ideal grilled cheese. If rye bread turns out not to be your thing, then you can go back and buy a quality loaf of rosemary focaccia or seven-grain wheat. The same idea applies to your cheese. A community farmers market is a great place to find flavorful cheese from around the region in which you live.
Try different cheeses
It’s easy to opt for classic American or sharp cheddar cheeses, but don’t be afraid to step outside your cheese comfort zone. An earthy Gruyere or creamy chevre can take your grilled cheese to the next level. Furthermore, you can use multiple cheeses on one sandwich to add depth to the flavor profile.
Add some meat
You’re probably thinking that adding meat to a grilled cheese makes it an entirely different sandwich. However, the addition of bacon or ham can add a heartier flavor and texture to your grilled cheese. The combination of bacon and a fruit compote or jam can bring a sweet and savory element to your sandwich. Ham, on the other hand, will give you a nice variation on the French croque-monsieur. Chicken and avocado will give you a grilled cheese with lots of protein and omega-3s.
Add strong flavors
Putting some sauteed mushrooms, roasted pecans or other bold flavors into your grilled cheese will give it an unforgettable taste.