Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grilled Cheese Therapy

Every couple has some sort of ongoing, long-standing disagreement. Ours has to do with me thinking that I'm right about the "proper" way to make food. On all seafood matters, I happily defer to my husband who grew up eating so much seafood that I trust he knows what it should taste like.

However, on the slim chance that he's taking a risk and making something in the/my kitchen, I find it almost impossible not to hover about dispensing tidbits of advice or, at the very least, disapproving looks when things seem to be going awry. But there is a phrase he likes to deliver that usually makes me tuck tail and leave.

"Remember the cheese sandwich?"

See, early on in our now decade-long marriage we had a little run-in regarding the proper method to make a cheese sandwich. Funny thing is, I can't remember either one of our methods. But his was appallingly wrong and, of course, being so much more "schooled" in cooking know-how I pointed out how wrong his approach to the cheese sandwich was. His gentle response was that people can do things in different ways and that is okay. Um, okay.

Ten years later, thanks to one of my favorite publications (Cook's Illustrated), I can finally and with confidence be sure that there is a "right" way to make a grilled cheese sandwich.

You know the two main issues plaguing a good sandwich...either the outside is charred black while the inside is still solid, unmelted cheese --or-- the cheese is melted but the outside is a soggy mess. The secret? Read on...

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices of good quality bread (I was using that Innkeeper's Bread from Costco)
A good handful of grated cheese (Gouda is gooda, but choose something you like)

Heat the skillet to Medium Low. Place a piece of dry (unbuttered) bread in the skillet and top with a good lot of cheese. Warm the bread and cheese, checking to see that the bread is not browning much. Top with the other slice of bread and carefully flip to warm from the other side. The cheese should be starting to melt by now.

While the second side is warming, spread soft butter over the top slice. Turn the heat up to Medium. Flip the sandwich so that the buttered side is down. Cook until it is a nice golden color. Butter the second side and repeat.

Perfect ooey gooey cheese. Perfect toasted, crisp bread. Perfect for this freezing cold and wet spring.

Hey, I can admit when I'm wrong about something. Especially now that I know the real "right" way to do it!


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