Say cheese! Is there anything better than a hot, gooey grilled cheese sandwich?!? A few things, maybe, but there’s something so amazingly delicious about a simple grilled cheese that just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
When I was growing up, grilled cheeses came in one variety: Kraft singles on white bread. Over the years my tastes have expanded and as I’ve explored the seemingly endless combinations of bread and cheese, I’ve encountered some truly sophisticated versions of this childhood favorite. And we haven’t even added the bacon, avocado, and jams yet!
One of my local favorite variations is from Fork in Lincoln Square. Their sandwich is stuffed with 3 year aged cheddar, fontina, and crispy house bacon and is served with your choice of tomato bisque or porcini mushroom soup. It’s my go-to brunch meal there. A new gourmet sandwich restaurant recently opened up the street from Fork called Jerry’s Sandwiches. I’ve not been yet, but Evan has and he enjoyed one of their takes on the grilled cheese called “Stoner”. What is it you wonder? Mac n’ cheese, American, provolone, applewood bacon, arugula, and Crystal hot sauce on Challah. I NEED to try this ASAP!
This spring has been pretty cool and rainy here in Chicago. Perfect weather for comfort food! This week Evan and I enjoyed some homemade mushroom soup with grilled cheese on the side. I dressed mine up a bit using a couple of ingredients I had on hand. Want to give it a try? Grab a loaf of bread, whole-grain mustard such as Esch Road’s Milwaukee Bay Spicy IPA Mustard & Rub, sharp cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, and a plum tomato.
Start with 4 slices of your favorite bread. I used a crusty Italian loaf that was soft on the inside with a chewy and crunchy (crunchewy?) crust. Spread 1-2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard over two slices. How much mustard you use is up to you depending on the size of your bread and your personal tastes.
Add 2 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese to cover the mustard, then top with 2 ounces of shredded pepper jack.
Thinly slice a plum tomato and layer atop the cheese, then top each sandwich with the remaining bread.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and let it melt completely.
Next add your sandwiches, giving them a firm press down to soak up the butter. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden.
Remove both sandwiches from your pan and add another tablespoon of butter. Once melted, return the sandwiches to the pan to cook the other side until golden, about 3-4 minutes.
That’s it! Now you have a delicious homemade sandwich filled with cheesy heaven. Enjoy!
If you’re looking for some other ideas, try a BTC (bacon, tomato, and cheese) or brie with fig preserves. You’re only limited by your imagination!
Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
4 slices of your favorite bread
4 tablespoons whole-grain mustard such as Esch Road’s Milwaukee Bay Spicy IPA Mustard & Rub
4 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1) Start with 2 slices of bread. Spread 1-2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard over each slice. Add 2 ounces sliced sharp cheddar cheese to cover the mustard, then top with 2 ounces of shredded pepper jack. Add a few slices of tomato and top each sandwich with the remaining bread.
2) Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and let it melt completely. Next add your sandwiches, giving them a firm press down to soak up the butter. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove both sandwiches from your pan and melt another tablespoon of butter. Return the sandwiches to the pan to cook the other side until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Comfort Food, Sandwiches, Vegetarian