Grilled-cheese goodness

13 Aug


One of the worst lunches of my childhood was grilled-cheese sandwiches.

My sister would begin with tasteless whole-wheat bread (or, worse yet, halved dry kaiser rolls), drop on slices of mozzarella cheese, stick the open-faced sandwiches under the broiler, and serve up abrasive, burnt cardboard topped with bubbling, scorched goo.

I thought I’d endured my last grilled-cheese sandwich after I waved goodbye to my college-bound sister.

But then, a decade later, in the weakness and conciliation of new love, I agreed to try my boyfriend’s speciality: grilled-cheese sandwiches. Awed, I watched him slather butter into every crevice of soft, white bread, then fry the sizzling pieces in more butter before squeezing slices of orange American cheese between the squishy layers.

I’d fallen in love with grilled-cheese sandwiches—and him—just before I had to give the former up forever.

Or so I thought, until I sampled a sandwich at Rose’s Wheatfree Bakery, and duplicated that grilled-cheese at home to create a sandwich even better (Dare I say?) than my boyfriend’s.

The secret is Rose’s amazing, addictive seeded sandwich bread. I’d always thought of bread as the platform for the cheese in the sandwich bearing the latter’s name. But with so much distinctive character, with the chewy texture of the myriad seeds and the surprising lightness of the dough, this gluten-free bread becomes the celebrity of the dish.

Consequently, almost any cheddar cheese will do. I used Lucerne 2-percent, reduced-fat, mild cheddar for my most recent sandwiches, but I prefer the smoothness and taste of Trader Joe’s mild cheddar.

Fry the bread with a generous amount of butter. Then add thin slices of cheddar, close the sandwich, and press. Next—a trick from my boyfriend—cover the pan until the cheese is mostly melted. Then carefully open the sandwich and add thin slices of fresh tomato (My boyfriend prefers to add these at the beginning with the cheese, but I enjoy my tomatoes still slightly cool.). Cook, flipping as needed, until desired. I’m always careful to leave the bread buttery soft, most likely because I’m haunted by my sister’s burnt concoctions. This bread, however, can withstand a slight crisping of the edges.

Then enjoy the richness and comfort of these combined flavors, and let them take you back to your childhood . . . or not.

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One Response to “Grilled-cheese goodness”

  1. Rachel August 17, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    Two cheers for grilled cheese sandwiches! My fav is to have it on Rye bread. Sans tomato though!!

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