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6:48 AM / Friday October 30, 2020

11 Apr 2011

Grilled cheese grows up

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April 11, 2011 Category: Food And Beverage Posted by:

ARA

Think your tastebuds have outgrown the grilled cheese sandwich? Think again. This childhood favorite has evolved into something quite sophisticated.

Cheese expert and James Beard award-winner Laura Werlin recently released her second book dedicated to the ultimate comfort food sandwich. “Grilled Cheese, Please! 50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes” takes this classic sandwich to new culinary heights.

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“Grilled cheese has evolved with the food movement in America,” Werlin says. “People are looking for natural, local and artisan food these days, and the grilled cheese sandwich has fallen in lockstep. It’s all about using the best ingredients possible.”

The bread and cheese are particularly important, she says. “It’s so easy to gussy up your sandwich with exotic bread and a high-quality cheese, so why not do it?” Try buttery breads, like croissants or brioche, or a loaf stuffed with olives or walnuts. Look for cheeses that melt well but still deliver great flavor. “There are wonderful melting cheeses from Wisconsin, such as Cheddar, Fontina and Gouda,” she adds.

Werlin takes great care with those ingredients, perfecting her grilled cheese method with a series of simple tips:

  • Grate-ful cheese: Grated cheese melts faster and more evenly than sliced cheese – the grating ensures the perfect melt before the sandwich burns.
  • Buttered-up bread: Use salted butter for the best flavor, and butter the bread, not the pan. Thinly sliced bread and soft butter work best.
  • Low and slow: Don’t rush the cooking process. Grill sandwiches slowly over medium heat; carefully watch for maximum melt and crispy bread.
  • Cover and cook: Cover the sandwich during the cooking process to lock in the heat. This will help the cheese melt faster and more evenly.

Use a spatula to press down firmly on the sandwich while cooking; flip the sandwich twice (pressing with each flip) to ensure crisp bread and thoroughly melted cheese.

The Wisconsinite

Makes 4 sandwiches
Ingredients:
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or use a Wisconsin mustard if you can)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 sandwich-size slices dark rye or marble bread
8 ounces Wisconsin Colby Cheese (or use Wisconsin Colby-Jack or Wisconsin Cheddar)
2 ounces Wisconsin Blue Cheese, coarsely crumbled

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix the cranberry sauce and mustard together. Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down, on your work surface. Spread the cranberry mixture on the bread. Distribute the Colby and crumble the Blue Cheese over the Colby. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the undersides are have darkened and become crisp. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the undersides are crisp. Remove the cover, turn the sandwiches once more and press firmly with the spatula once again. Cook for 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted completely. (You might have to peek inside to make sure.) Remove from the pan and let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

Mozzarella with Crispy Prosciutto and Broccoli Rabe

Makes 4 sandwiches
Ingredients:
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or use a Wisconsin mustard if you can)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 sandwich-size slices dark rye or marble bread
8 ounces Wisconsin Colby Cheese (or use Wisconsin Colby-Jack or Wisconsin Cheddar)
2 ounces Wisconsin Blue Cheese, coarsely crumbled

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix the cranberry sauce and mustard together. Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread, buttered side down, on your work surface. Spread the cranberry mixture on the bread. Distribute the Colby and crumble the Blue Cheese over the Colby. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches into the pan, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the undersides are have darkened and become crisp. Turn the sandwiches, pressing each one firmly with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the undersides are crisp. Remove the cover, turn the sandwiches once more and press firmly with the spatula once again. Cook for 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted completely. (You might have to peek inside to make sure.) Remove from the pan and let cool 5 minutes. Cut in half and serve.

For more recipes, visit www.EatWisconsinCheese.com.

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