Grilled Cheese Challenge: ACCEPTED

I doesn’t photography so good.

Well, Sparky threw down the gauntlet yesterday, and I felt I had to respond. Sadly, I did encounter some limitations, as by the time I was done work last night, it was after 9PM, and most places were already closed. This severely limited my ability to collect the required ingredients, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take this as a representative example. I suppose if I had been clever enough to head out of my way on my commute home, I could have found everything I needed in Edmonton, but in my little town, the only thing open that late is the grocery department at Wally World, and they’re not exactly renowned for their high-quality contributions to civilization.

Nevertheless, this should give you a solid idea of my version of a Grilled Cheese. And I want to make another one already.

First things first, we start grilling all the other ingredients that will be required. In this case, I added a bit lot of diced garlic, some diced red onion, and some sliced mushrooms. I sautéed them in some extra virgin olive oil, and added just a touch of my secret ingredient:

I’m not sure if this stuff is available everywhere, but it is the greatest, most magical substance in the whole world. It adds a bit of kick to everything and tastes delicious. If you can find some, get it. I also diced up some deli-sliced black forest ham and sautéed it as well. I would normally use several different kinds of meat, adding in some roast chicken or turkey as well. But, of course, WalMart had nothing like that. Of course. For the second sammich I made today, I substituted the deli-sliced meat for tinned crab-meat and tuna. Also delicious.

I did, however, add the more crucial element: bacon from my mother’s Big Bag o’Bacon™.

From there, use some thick-sliced bread. I’m not a huge fan of dense breads, but if you love them, all the power to you. I’ve made these with a very light cheese-bread with a thick crust, and they were quite excellent, even if they didn’t cook all that evenly. That is the advantage to a regular bakery bread: it cooks evenly. Normally I would use thin-sliced sharp cheddar, with an extra slice of Kraft Singles Sharp synthetic-cheese for meltiness and cohesion. I like a little goo in my GCS, even if it’s comprised of petroleum distillates and recycled tires. Here, I have to forego my proper deli-style extra-old cheddar in favour of more synthetic-cheese. Not ideal, but it’ll work in a pinch. Pile it high on each sammich, and carefully close the whole thing up.

Pete likes mayo on both sides of the bread. I personally don’t like it on the inside, but it’s your preference. I don’t want to taste the mayo, I want to use it for a crust. Here’s why: mayo is mostly just eggs. If you bathe bread in a egg-and-milk wash and grille it, you get French toast. (That would, I believe, then make this sammich a Monte Cristo.) We don’t actually want the French toast, but we want the French-toast-style crisp to it.

In grilling, because I use so much cheese, I use a medium-high heat (just over 7 on a stove with a 1-10 dial), and flip the sammich very frequently. This allows both sides to cook evenly, and allows the cheese to melt on both sides. A lower heat has a hard time getting through a thick slice of bread; a higher heat cooks faster and doesn’t give everything inside a chance to goo together.

Flip, flip, flip until nicely golden.

Slice it, serve it, and fight off all the other people who will cluster around, saying, “Can I try a bite of that?”. NO. Make your own damn sammich.

  • tonyola

    While store-bought, prepakaged bread might elicit screams of dismay and fear from culinary purists, it's also more appropriate for what is intended to be a "quick and dirty" sandwich like a grilled cheese than some foo-foo designer bread. My choice? Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Sourdough.
    <img src="; width=350>

    • Deartháir

      Yeah, I can understand wanting a fancy bread. For myself, it kinda takes away from the "FOOD GOES IN FACE HOLE" nature of the GCS.

  • aastrovan

    That looks so tasty and good.
    Plus the garlic syrup must be good for all night gas.
    Perhaps if you deep fried that you could increase the calorie/fat content.
    And yes I want some.

    • Deartháir


  • rovingardener

    I prefer rye, because I prefer on anything including French Toast, but definitely bakery rye bread. DON'T JUDGE ME. And the more grilled cheese guts the better.

    Also, a proper Monte Cristo is entirely submerged in egg wash, dusted in powdered sugar and dipped in yummy warm and buttered Maple Syrup, the elixir of the Canadian Gods.

    • Target29

      When you say "Rye" in Alberta it usually refers to whisky…

  • skitter

    The past two days of posts have all been missing one critical step. Many of you understand that the bacon needs to be cooked first, until there's a pool of bacon fat that looks like you've doused the pan with olive oil. Here's what you're missing:

    Toast the inside of the bread before you apply the bacon, cheese, bacon, toppings, and bacon.

    This gets the center hotter, adds a layer of texture, and infuses the entire sandwich with golden-brown goodness.

    • Deartháir

      I've found that dries it out quite a bit to toast them first. I imagine if you like a crunchy sammich, you should be shot could absolutely alter the recipe to that strange affinity.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Please do not judge me, but for my kids I make a quick and dirty GCS. It's a trick that my aunt taught me, she had there boys and a husband. First toast the toast in a toaster. Then butter the insides if you so chose. Then put cheese between and assemble. Then pop in microwave. Finally toast just a short time on the pan (this is actually optional depending on kid). In this way you can make a whole lot of them quickly before the little vikings raid, rape, and pillage the kitchen.

    • Deartháir

      There is a much easier solution: Sell the little vikings!

  • Victor

    Damn that looks good.