Grilled Cheese for a crowd?
- galleygirl Jun 2, 2005 10:11 AM
I'm doing massive amounts of grilled cheese next week...I'll have a large, flat griddle, but I need something to press them down with...My normal cast-iron skillet trick won't work; wrong shape, and probably not attractive enough...I'm thinking of wrapping something in aluminum foil to use as weights? Any suggestions, or better ideas?
One large weight doesn't allow for checking/turning of individual sandwiches. What about 2lb cans of tomato sauce (with attractive labels, if the visuals are important)? Wrap the can bottoms in foil. The cans are heavy enough, and you can work each sandwich separately on the griddle.
Don't know if you want to spend any $$ but I use my bacon press to weight down my grilled cheese.
We had 6 unexpected guests this winter and after a few glasses of wine people were getting hungry - so I just took out various cheeses, breads, jams, chutneys etc. and everyone made their own. It was great fun.
I would prep all of the sandwiches first. I usually don't butter the outside of the bread, but find it easier to just melt a decent amount of butter on the surface of the pan right before the sandwiches go on. You might want to butter the second side so that you can just flip over.
For a press, I would place a cookie sheet over all the sandwiches and then weigh down w/ 2-4 smallish bricks on top, whatever will provide you w/ even weight distribution. Wrapping bricks in foil may help to keep them cool.
If you aren't serving immediately, then have the oven at a low temp (200-250F) w/ a big pre-heated serving platter waiting to place your done sandwiches on. Less overcrowding or overlapping, more likely they'll retain their crunch on the outside. Good luck!
re: Carb Lover
Regarding preping first...
I usually make extra grilled cheese sandwiches and freeze leftovers.
If you use a really good, crunchy bread, you can take them right from the freezer to the oven (300 degrees) and heat them through beautifully.
They taste pretty much the same as fresh, believe it or not! (This is just with plain cheddar, or cheddar and Nueske bacon sandwiches.)
This might take some of the stress off the event.
To save yourself hassle, I would vary the types of sandwiches. If you have twenty guests, make, say:
five traditional grilled cheese sandwiches (stovetop)
five open face tartines with ham & béchamel (broiler)
five open face burrata and fava bean puree (broiler)
five non-cheese, maybe a pan bagnat that can be prepared in advance.
Your post reminds me of one from a couple of years ago---the person was planning to make waffles for, what was it, thirty people, with one waffle iron. I've never seen a thread so passionatly beg a poster to change the menu. Why do these have to be grilled sandwiches? See if you can improvise some bake-able variant of the Croque Monsieur and do the whole bunch on large cookie sheets in the oven.
Ok, help me out...I've been making grilled cheese for 20+ years now, and I'm not sure I understand why you need something to press them down with. If you use the right kind of bread, the right thickness of bread, and a good quality meltable cheese, it seems to me that the cooking time is just right for melting the cheese and getting both sides done.
To make it fun and efficient, I'd probably get several types of bread and cheese and make a bunch of different combinations. I like using french bread, my wife loves a good sourdough, and the kids, of course it's WOnder Bread or an equivalent. Make sure you cover the bread well with the cheese so you get some oozing. And I'd butter the grill for the first side but have the tops pre-buttered for the 2nd.
Great, now I've got the munchies for a grilled cheese sandwich!