Buttery, toasty bread. Rich, velvety cheese. A simple, classic combination of everyman ingredients. Put that sandwich on the heat and it turns into magic. With a bowl of soup or a salad, it's a feast. No wonder America designated yesterday as National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Didn't get to have one? Don't fret – treat yourself any time with these three recipes.
No matter whether you go with the classic version, the sophisticated combo, or the hearty option, you'll be in cheesy heaven just as soon as these babies hit the griddle.
The Classic (with or without bacon)
Use a firm white or wheat sandwich bread, cheddar or American cheese and butter. Heat your griddle to medium low. Lay out half the bread slices and cover each with a layer of cheese (here's where you can add some precooked bacon for a salty crunch). Complete the sandwiches and butter one side. Sprinkle the buttered side with a little salt and pepper and lay the sandwiches butter-side down on the griddle. Cook until golden brown, butter the other side of the sandwiches and flip. Each side should take 3-4 minutes. Flip the sandwiches again to reheat the top side and to make sure that cheese is melted, cut and serve. A cup of soup or a salad completes this classic lunch dish.
The Sophisticate: Mushroom and Manchego Panini
Saute a combination of sliced cremini mushrooms and other mushrooms (like oyster and shiitake) in butter, garlic, fresh thyme, a touch of salt and wine vinegar until all liquid evaporates.
Spread slices of sourdough bread with the mushroom mixture, top with shaved Manchego cheese and another slice of bread.
Butter one side of each sandwich and place butter-side down on a hot griddle. Place a heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches and press gently to flatten. After 2 minutes, butter the top slice of bread, turn the sandwiches, and repeat until the cheese is completely melted. Rub the top and bottom of the well browned sandwich with a cut garlic clove. A lightly dressed spring greens salad is an elegant side dish.
The Hearty Option: Roast Beef and Brie on a Roll
Caramelize some red onions with a touch of garlic and rosemary in extra virgin olive oil and butter. Spread the sides of a dense, thin sandwich roll (ciabatta or Latin torta) lightly with dijon mustard. Add generous slices of brie cheese (rind removed), the roast beef, and top with the onions. Close up the sandwich. Spray the outside of the sandwich lightly with olive oil and add a grind of pepper. Place on a medium hot griddle for 3-4 minutes until the first side is golden, then flip and toast the other side. This sandwich is wonderful served with pickles, hot peppers and potato chips, for the crunch.
With choices like these, you'll find that every day can be Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Let us know which of these sandwiches you liked the most. If you have a family favorite, we'd love to hear what your recipe is.
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