Grilled cheese sandwich

24 Sep

Grilled cheese sandwich

Mum made two kinds of grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. The first was a crappy, open-face sandwich that involved slapping a plasticky cheese slice on a slice of bread and melting it under the broiler. This was always adorned with a  little ketchup smiley face.

The second kind involved two slices of buttered bread and real cheddar, and was cooked slowly in the electric frying pan until it transformed into crispy-melty-cheesy deliciousness. To my disappointment, we ate a lot more of the first kind…

I realise that one can make perfectly nice open-face grilled cheese sandwiches – what the Brits call cheese on toast – but the pan fried ones are so much better that I seldom bother.

There a few things worth keeping in mind when making a grilled cheese sandwich. First, you must slice the cheddar (not grate it), and it shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. Too thick and it doesn’t melt properly, too thin and it disappears into the bread.

Second, I have a slight preference for store-bought sliced bread works here. I’ve made very good grilled cheese sandwiches with “proper” bread, but they don’t ever reach the same heights of amalgamated crispy-gooeyness.

Third, grilled cheese sandwiches are meant to be dipped in ketchup (brown sauce in a pinch). I always make myself one sandwich, then sort of wish I’d made two – which is a good reason to serve your sandwich with a bowl of soup, preferably tomato.

Comfort food at its best…

Grilled cheese sandwich
(makes one)

  • two slices bread
  • 4 slices strong cheddar, about 1/4″ thick
  • 1 tsp onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • butter, soft enough to spread
  • paprika
  1. Lie the two slices of bread on a cutting board. Arrange the cheese slices in a single layer on one slice.
  2. Place the other slice on top to make a sandwich. Butter the top slice generously and sprinkle with paprika.
  3. Heat a heavy frying pan over low heat. Carefully transfer the sandwich, butter side down, into the frying pan.
  4. Butter and paprika the second side.
  5. Cook the sandwich slowly until the underside is crisp, pressing it down occasionally with a spatula to help it cook evenly and ensure it is sticking together.
  6. Flip the sandwich and carefully cook the other side.
  7. Remove from the heat, cut into triangles and serve with ketchup or brown sauce.

7 Responses to “Grilled cheese sandwich”

  1. Margo September 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    love your heartfelt dismissive comments about the open face cheese sandwich that the occasional limp hostess still offers up as an evening snack.

    • Andrea September 25, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      It was the huge gulf between those ones and the good ones that bothered me the most…

  2. JACKIE MCLAUGHLIN September 24, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Still the best comfort food going. When I was pregnant with Moira I lived on tomato soup and grilled cheese or tomato soup and grilled peanut butter and sliced tomato sandwiches with lots of pepper. A friend of mine likes to make gilled cheese, peanut butter, bacon and sliced tomato sandwiches. Yum! You put the peanut butter under the cheese… in the middle so it does not leak… also add the cooked bacon and slices of tomato before putting both pieces together to grill. Lots of ketchup of course!

    • Andrea September 25, 2014 at 6:53 am #

      Your friend’s sandwich is a new one on me — I’d give it a try!

  3. Adam Garfunkel October 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Ok… 4 more ways to ‘improve’ on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Warning: there is macaroni involved in one of these!

    • Andrea October 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      The ironed cheese was pretty impressive!

  4. Margo April 6, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

    A childhood favorite that still is a default lunch

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