Happy National Grilled Cheese Day 2024!

There's little that can beat a solid grilled cheese sandwich. It's a beloved comfort food that few can turn their nose up at. It's notoriously easy to make, though a mistake here and there could lead to a burnt slice of bread. Basically, a grilled cheese is foolproof comfort.

To craft the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich, start with the basics: cheese, bread, and butter. But don't stop there; it's the nuances that elevate it from ordinary to extraordinary. Yes, there is a such thing as gourmet grilled cheese.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Firstly, choose your bread wisely. A thick-cut, hearty bread like sourdough or a rustic Italian loaf provides a sturdy foundation and adds flavor complexity.

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Next, select your cheese. A combination of cheeses works wonders—think sharp cheddar for tang, creamy fontina for meltiness, and a hint of gruyere for depth. Experiment with different blends to find your perfect mix. Personally, I prefer mozzarella or farmer cheese for extra creamy goodness.

Now, let's talk about the butter. Don't skimp on it; generous buttering of the bread's exterior ensures a golden, crispy crust. For added flavor, consider infusing the butter with minced garlic or a sprinkle of herbs like thyme or rosemary. Remember that butter can burn! Be sure to keep an eye on it closely while cooking.

Assemble your sandwich with care, spreading a thick layer of cheese between the slices of bread. If you're feeling adventurous, add extras like caramelized onions, thinly sliced tomatoes, ham, mushrooms, bacon, etc. Think of it like pizza, nothing is really off limits.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash
Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and gently place your sandwich in, allowing it to cook slowly. Patience is key here; rushing the process risks burnt bread and un-melted cheese. Keep chanting slow and low to yourself, you'll get it.

Flip the sandwich once the bottom is golden brown and repeat on the other side. Press down lightly with a spatula to encourage the cheese to ooze and meld with the bread.

Once both sides are perfectly crispy and the cheese is gloriously melted, remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute (if you can wait that long). Then, slice diagonally and savor every gooey, crunchy bite of your masterpiece. Grilled cheese is traditionally served with a piping hot bowl of tomato soup.

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