Today, in case you didn’t know it, is National Grilled Cheese Day. It’s sort of crazy how there are special ‘national’ days to celebrate food, but it’s also sort of fun. There’s one obvious way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day and that is to make a grilled cheese sandwich! While it’s easy to slap a couple of pieces of American cheese in between two slices of white bread, I prefer a much more adult grilled cheese sandwich. My favorite combinations include turkey with gouda and goat cheese, pancetta with fontina and basil, and pico de gallo with pepper Jack. Making the perfect grilled cheese doesn’t just require good ingredients, it’s also essential to master the technique. Here’s how I make perfect grilled cheese sandwiches every time.
1. Start by preparing the sandwich ingredients. You want everything to be ready before you assemble the sandwich. If using multiple types of cheese, mix them together in a bowl. Thinly slice or chop vegetables, meat, and fruit for an even distribution of filling.
2. Always grate the cheese. There’s nothing worse than a grilled cheese sandwich where the cheese is not fully melted. To ensure maximum gooeyness, use grated cheese. It simply melts the quickest.
3. Spread the outside of each piece of bread with room temperature butter. This will provide a crisp exterior to the sandwich.
4. When layering the sandwich, start and end with the cheese. The cheese acts as the glue to the entire sandwich. Layer in this order: bread butter side out, cheese, other filling ingredients, cheese, bread butter side out.
5. Cook the sandwich over medium low heat. This ensures that the bread gets toasted slowly allowing the cheese plenty of time to melt. Patience is key when it comes to the ideal grilled cheese sandwich!
6. Cover the grilled cheese when cooking. This is a tip I learned from cheese expert Laura Werlin. It warms all of the sandwich’s ingredients.
7. When you’re done cooking it, let the sandwich rest for a minute. This gives the cheese time to set. It’s especially important when using a runny cheese like brie. You want the melted cheese in the sandwich, not on the plate.