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Grilled Cheeses

Nov 25, 2014 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
What’s better than gooey melted cheese and buttery bread for a pick-me-up? All the grilled cheeses in this trio are so good the toughest part will be deciding which one to make! The trick is to give the sandwich a nice browning in a pan before putting it in the oven to melt the cheese. Pair one—or all of them—with some tomato soup and you’ll be good to go! Annie’s organic chunky tomato bisque is my personal favorite.

From Top to Bottom:

1. The French Evolution

Rhea’s Rundown

This grilled cheese is the easiest to make of the three, unless you decide to be an even bigger foodie and throw in some crispy shallots like me. Even if you decide to go that extra step it will still take no time at all. Simply slice a shallot into thin rings and sauté them until they brown. I soaked my shallots in Season’s Serrano Honey vinegar (from Season’s Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom) for 30 minutes before hand, and then threw it all in the pan with some olive oil. If you opt to leave out the shallots then all that’s required is buttering bread and melting cheese. I love this decadent twist on a timeless classic. The brioche is the perfect texture for the mild and creamy Gruyere; the shallots, should you decide to use them, are the perfect compliment.

Ingredients – Makes 1
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 slices brioche
  • 2 oz. Gruyere, thickly sliced
  • 1 shallot (optional)

2. Southern Comfort

Rhea’s Rundown

This grilled cheese recipe requires just a little more effort than the other two but it’s so worth it. The extra steps involve cooking off a couple strips of bacon and slicing up a little Granny smith apple, so it’s really not so bad. I left out the mayonnaise and it was still absolutely delicious. I also substituted an aged-white cheddar cheese, which paired amazingly with the bacon and apple. It would probably be a tasty experiment to use two different cheeses, perhaps the Swiss and Gouda at the same time.

Ingredients – Makes 1
  • 1 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 slices rustic bread
  • 3 thick slices high-quality bacon, cooked
  • 3 thin slices Granny Smith apple
  • 2 tbsp. Duke’s mayonnaise (optional)
  • 2 oz. Swiss cheese or Gouda, thinly sliced

3. The Crispy Caprese

Rhea’s Rundown

This grilled cheese is pure genius. The Caprese is such an enjoyable classic it only makes sense to serve it up grilled cheese style. The warm melted mozzarella gets fantastic bursts of flavor from the fresh tomato and basil. It’s a truly delightful experience and super easy to whip up!

Ingredients – Makes 1
  • 1 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 2 slices pagnotta (Italian country bread)
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • Several sprigs of fresh basil
  • 3 oz. fresh burrata or mozzarella, sliced

Directions (same for all three sandwiches)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

3. Assemble sandwich on plate. Butter outside of bread and place non-cheese ingredients—bacon, basil, whatever—between 2 slices of cheese to keep bread from sliding off.

4. Add 1/3 tbsp. butter to skillet and cook to brown. Lay sandwich in pan and cook for about 1 ½ minutes until bottom of bread is brown and crusty. Flip, then cook for an additional 30-45 seconds.

5. Spread remaining butter on just-browned side, transfer sandwich to a baking sheet, and place in oven for a few minutes—how long depends on how melty you like your cheese.

6. Remove sandwich from oven and let it sit for a minute before eating.

Adapted from: “Grilled Cheese Trio.” Epicurious: Crowd Pleasers; 150 Delicious Recipes. Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Conde Nast. 2014. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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