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An Extraordinary Grilled Cheese Sandwich is... [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

My concoction is simple - fresh challah bread smothering both sides with good butter (preferably Plugra), stuffing regular good old-fashioned velveeta between the bread & slices of maple cured applewood smoked ham. The success of this extraordinary sandwich is taking your sweet 'ol time grilling it & I use an "exclusive" fry pan that I inherited from my late "Gourmet Grandmother," which is a well seasoned 1974 All-Clad; believe it or not, it's in better shape than most of my alternate (newer) cookware . I use the lowest setting on my Wolf cooktop & the long wait is well worth the oh-so-gooey result !

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  1. sounds good...well except the ham...(ham on challah? my grandmother would roll over in her grave)
    BUT i bet i still burn it...i have never met a grilled cheese i haven't burnt.
    do you think it would still be extraordinary if i used the broiler?

    38 Replies
    1. re: mowarsh

      Margarine on the outside instead of butter doesn't burn as fast. I use margarine when I'm not trying to be all gourmet about it. Maybe clarified butter or ghee would work well.

      1. re: mainsqueeze

        hmmm... i never even thought about margarine...i'll give it a try thanks.

        1. re: mowarsh

          I only use butter, just turn the heat down so the sandwich cooks low and slow and the butter and sugars in the4 bread have a chance to meld and caramelize.

        2. re: mainsqueeze

          Sorry, but I was born & reared with "real" butter. No-can-do the other stuff, i.e.
          mar·ga·rine ... a butterlike product made of refined vegetable oils, sometimes blended with animal fats, and emulsified, usually with water - its own definition on dictionary dot com even is unappetizing - sorry - it's all butter for me & the sad part is, folks actually believe that by not using real butter they're saving money &/or calories, which in untrue. The only loss is taste.

          1. re: mainsqueeze

            Clarified butter is perfect; some ghee is milder than other, a more strongly flavored one might not work with all cheese equally...

            1. re: MikeG

              I'm confused. Ghee is clarified butter. Are you referring to certain brands more strongly flavored than others? Wouldn't that be the same if you made your own with different butters?

              1. re: gourmanda

                All ghee is clarified butter, but not all clarified butter is ghee. Ghee is cooked longer to drive the moisture off, and to some extent to toast the milk solids for added flavor. Imported ghee like other imported dairy is made from "different" milk, but it's also treated differently, cultured differently, etc., - certainly from American butter and different if not as dramatically as some European butter. Clarified butter on the other hand was traditionally made from sweet, not heavily cultured, milk and the butterfat strained off once everything melted, rather than cooking long/hard enough to boil it all off. It was made not for long term storage in a hot climate, but for the practical purpose of high heat cooking with butter instead of or in addition to oil; it doesn't really come up a lot in typical home cooking, most uses for butter would involve wetter ingredients or added liquid, which slow down the browning, or burning, process so the food cooks before the butter burns...

                1. re: MikeG

                  Thank you for such a complete response! My studies of Hinduism never delved that deeply into the makeup of ghee. Thanks!

                  1. re: gourmanda

                    Just FYI, Hinduism is a religion, not a culture or cuisine. Cooks all over the subcontinent (of many different religions) use ghee, not just Hindus. And there are tons of different cuisines within different Hindu communities.

              2. re: mainsqueeze

                one should never replace butter with margarine IMHO. I'd rather have a little char than no butter taste.

                1. re: mainsqueeze

                  If you are burning butter while making a grilled cheese you are doing it wrong. Also, real butter tastes better and doesn't have any hydrogenated fat.

                  And Velveeta!? Processed cheese-like product?... Must, must, MUST use real cheese. How about some mild cheddar, or a mix of a few different cheeses?

                  1. re: Kevitivity

                    I adore real cheese on grilled cheese, but one of the comfort foods I grew up with was velveeta between slices of wonder bread, slathered with butter, fried golden brown and pressed down with a weight my grandfather made specifically for my grandmother at the machine shop where he worked. That plus a bowl of Campbell's cream of tomato soup made with whole milk and a knob of butter added upon serving was the lunch I always got when I was home sick. I have it now and then now, and I still enjoy it. I don't mistake it for fine cuisine, but it's still yummy to me. :)

                    1. re: Morganna

                      Morganna - I couldn't agree with you more. I spend an insane amount of $$$ on cheeses in any market I go in & even more cheese wacky, when I designed my new kitchen, the architect & I worked with the fine folks at Subzero & with all of our minds together, we accomplished what I call "my cheese drawer" (& beneath it a produce drawer) refrigerated, yet separate from my actual refrigerator & in my favorite drawer, you'll find an array of fine cheeses, including none other than the classic "processed" Velveeta; however, I will add, that my NEWEST favorite (cheese) find is ...Tartufello - Tuscan Raw Milk Pecorino with Truffle - it's divine!

                      1. re: JayVaBeach

                        There is a place for both fine artisanal cheeses and Velveeta in the world. I actually feel a bit sorry for those who feel otherwise.

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          I'm pretty sure the place for velveeta in this world is in my mouth! Can't have it right now, though. I'd have to report it to the dietitian and she'd have a minor heart attack. Though the wonderful thing is this month's meeting is the LAST one! YAY! :)

                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            I don't feel sorry for anyone loving cheese - to each's own! I thank God that He created us all different, yet equal!

                        1. re: Kevitivity

                          Why *must must* you use real cheese? I love a good quality cheese as much as the next hound, but every ingredient has a time and a place, no matter how god-awful it might be. For example, if I'm barbecuing burgers at home, only a couple slices of Kraft singles tossed on those bad boys will fully satisfy my craving; an aged cheddar might be utterly delicious, but in that case, it wouldn't be my first choice and I'd find it disappointing. It's just like sometimes I want a pitcher of homemade freshly squeezed lemonade with sugar syrup and sprigs of mint, and other times, I would eagerly trade that for a glass of lemon kool-aid mixed up from powder.

                      2. re: mowarsh

                        Yes - your grandmother would be right grinding in her grave as my little concoction certainly isn't kosher, but as a full blown WASPrince here, it goes hand-in-hand in my culture. It's also a Virginian tradition to include ham when indulging.

                        1. re: mowarsh

                          good news is that no MOT has Velveeta in the fridge, blech.

                          all grilled cheese with good bread sauteed to a golden brown, crispy exterior, with beautifully melted cheese is as good as it gets.

                          Add to that ripe tomato, some crispy bacon, good quality ham, etc.

                          but it starts with good cheese and slowly cooked to brown the bread properly.

                          1. re: jfood

                            I get teased all of the time regarding my Velveeta fridge staple, but it's one of those old college staples that I've never given up; however, I'm all so willing to experiment, especially when it comes to CHEESE & that I do!

                            1. re: JayVaBeach

                              jfoods mom made macaroni and cheese with the Big V and then jfood tried as an early newlywed. absolutely disgusted him.

                              like many things, childhood food memories should stay put.

                              1. re: jfood

                                I still love kraft singles on rye with red onions. Terrible, no? A childhood memory that won't go away!

                                1. re: jfood

                                  I disagree jfood, as there are many immature ingredients that make a dish special, i.e. Jif extra crunchy; however, in my Mac & Cheese, only the finest Cheddar, Gruyere & Pecorino Romano all freshly grated will do. No Velveeta in my Mac & Cheese!

                                  1. re: JayVaBeach

                                    jfood thinks we are in agreement. momma jfood made mac and cheese with V and jfood liked it as a little guy. Now V turns his stomach. The three cheeses you describe here sound good, maybe with a little havarti for creminess.

                                    BTW grew up on Jif creamy and now am into skippy lower fat. whodathunkit

                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                      I always loved Long Horn Cheese in a GCS. I loved the way it would string when you bit into it. I also adore one made with really good sharp cheddar. A twist I found quite tasty was brie or camenbert on raisin bread and grilled.

                                  2. re: JayVaBeach

                                    I like the finest of cheeses, and I still like Velveeta for some things! You just never mind the snobs. And if it reminds you of a cherished memory, you just cling to it tightly!

                                    Tell me, you do cook the bacon first, don't you?

                                    If you wanted to be bold, maybe try a thin smear of apricot jam?

                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                      I've never met a processed cheese food I didn't like, including the kind in the can that you spray at your kids when they bother you at the pool. Cheese is my absolute favorite food and I use it all! Having said that, I like a grill cheese with 8 grain bread, tomato and gorgonzola. In butter.

                                    2. re: jfood

                                      Is velveeta really a 'cheese'? I guess I thot it to be more of a petroleum product, along the lines of cool whip. Surprised that it wd even need refridgeration.

                                      1. re: ElsieB

                                        it's "grilled cheese" cheese <GRIN>

                                        1. re: ElsieB

                                          It doesn't until you open the package. When I was young and inexperienced I went all over the dairy case of my grocery store looking for it, and finally had to ask someone. They directed me to a regular aisle.

                                          1. re: ElsieB

                                            It's cheese with some extra added milk, whey protein and an emulsifier. I know it's cute to look down on Velveeta and all, but the "petroleum product" trope has gotten very old. Ooh, I know, next let's all talk about how Twinkies have a shelf life measured in triple digits! That wouldn't be hacky and smug at all!

                                          2. re: jfood

                                            Slowly cooked.....maybe that is why i burn it....i'm usually in a hurry.

                                          3. re: mowarsh

                                            lol about the challah and ham, my grandma would also be rolling! I still can't get my head around bagels with ham and bacon it somehow doesn't feel right.

                                            1. re: smartie

                                              sorry but I LOVE bacon and cream cheese on a toasted bagel, sorry if it offends anyone!

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                Add some ripe, sliced tomato and lots of freshly ground pepper and I am there! Perfect breakfast for me.

                                          4. One of my favourite grilled cheese sandwiches consists of aged cheddar, red grapes (halved) and slices of apple.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: mainsqueeze

                                              The secret my mom gave me was to use mayo instead of butter. Easier to spread and no really difference in taste I can tell. Of course, that's with kraft singles of course.
                                              I also like prosciutto and gruyere on sliced ciabatta. Brush with olive oil, stick in the oven until golden. YUM!

                                              1. re: wanderluster

                                                I've heard of folks replacing butter with Mayo for grilling cheese sandwiches & possibly I would do it if I were in a pinch; however, Plugra (butter) is something I'm never out of. I do try to stock Duke's mayo at all times as well, as there's nothing better than a summer sandwich of fresh vine ripe tomatoes sliced thinly on fresh Pepperidge Farm original white with Dukes mayo, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.

                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                  Mayo gets it more crisp and it does not get as greasy as with butter. It is a trick I once heard of and tried. Works really well, although today when I went home for lunch I grilled me up (on Farmer's Market Rosemary Bread) Muenster, Prosciutto with that Trader Joe's margarine in the yellow tub. Came out dee-lishus!
                                                  That tomato sandwich you mention is my absolute fave, too. Except I put it on lightly toasted sourdough (open faced) with Best Foods (slathered on!). Bring out the Best Foods, and bring out the best!! ;-)

                                              2. re: mainsqueeze

                                                YUM! I've made something similar with smoked gouda, sliced green apple and a smear of honey mustard. I must try with grapes next time... that sounds wonderful.

                                                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                    After a "Ham on the Street" episode on Food Network extolling the virtues of jam on grilled cheese, I decided to try it. After all, I do eat Monte Christo sandwiches which have cheese, meat, and jam. "Ham" argued that any bread combined with any cheese and any jam/jelly was delicious. Except for a few strange concoctions, he proved himself correct with the average taste tester. Since then, I have tried several concoctions of cheese and jams and have LOVED everyone of them. I try and stay with cheeses that are more subtle like mild/medium cheddars, brie, provolone, mozzerella, and my favorite Babybel.

                                              3. My kids kept insisting that my grilled cheese sandwiches weren't as crunchy as they liked. I finally figured out what I needed: butter the bread and then fry in a hot pan w/ veggie or olive oil. Much crisper exterior while preserving that buttery soft interior! I so love a cheddar and garden tomato grilled cheese! Loaded w/ s&p. ;-)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                  If you bake them, the outsides get all crunchy and the insides all melty, yum! I know it's not "grilled", but you can also make several sandwiches at once. I make the sandwiches, butter the outside of the bread, place on a cookie sheet, and bake at a fairly high temp (400-425 F. or so) for about 10-15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, flipping the sandwiches half-way through the cooking time. Works great!

                                                2. Pain de Mie from Dean & Deluca, very liberally brushed with olive oil (or, pour olive oil on a plate and press pieces of bread into it), heat skillet until quite hot, place one piece of bread olive oil side down, add grated very high quality gruyere and fontina, in a liberal amount. Add other piece of bread, olive oil side up. Put heavy skillet on top to weigh it town. Check and when bottom piece is nicely browned, flip over and sprinkle some sea salt on top. Weigh down again. When bottom piece is done, sprinkle with a little more sea salt. Cut in half - diagonally. Enjoy.

                                                  I think I gained five pounds in about a week before Christmas after hosting a holiday party that left me with these leftover ingredients.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    That sounds delightful & I've used a similar method for a more sophisticated version. I do love good gruyere (freshly grated). I live 3.5 hours from the closest Dean & Deluca (Georgetown, DC), so I'm limited to usually ordering from them, which I do often or for physically shopping, it's my neighboring Williams-Sonoma for good quality EVOO. I stock Olivier mostly. I recently used Laurent du Clos Mustard for a Croque-Monsieur, again, we Virginians love our ham & coated the outside with Ina Garten's mornay sauce. It was heavy, yet delicious & my guests enjoyed them & of course Olive Oil Potato Chips on the side.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      mmm. I like your grilled cheese sammy! But I have a really bad habit of dipping my grilled cheese sandwhich in ketchup.....ooops.

                                                    2. I use delicious local polish-rye (no caraway), Vermont sharp cheddar, thinly sliced red onion, cilantro sprigs, and sriracha. Its awesome. Bread is buttered on the outside and grilled on a cast iron grill pan, under a weighted frying pan. Pure awesomeness.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                        I think pressing the sandwich is a great idea. I have noticed a marked difference regardless of type of cheese, breads from putting weight on top.

                                                        1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                          Amen on the sriracha! Nothing like the contrast of fire and cream.

                                                          1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                            If you don't want it so squished, grilled cheese comes out perfectly in a cast iron pan with a cover, rather than a weight..

                                                          2. Any kind of good bread, cheddar cheese, bacon, mayonnaise and pickles.

                                                            1. My secret for a great grilled cheese sandwich is mayo, dijon mustard and a bit of horseradish cream. It adds a bit of tang and spice that when mingled with melted cheese, is delicious.

                                                              www.piealamona.blogspot.com

                                                              1. I'm afraid I'm terribly white trash where the grilled cheese is concerned. Regular square sandwich loaf, margarined with a light sprinkle of garlic powder, 2 kinds of cheese (I like cheddar and swiss) with maybe some dill pickle slices between them. Drop a metal spatula on top to hold it down better. Serve with chicken noodle soup, perhaps with some tomato juice added.

                                                                1. Dill pickles and Kraft slices on texas toast, not smashed. I was horrified the first time I saw my future mother in law smash down a grilled cheese.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: burntcream

                                                                    That's funny burnt - darn those in-laws!!! Nothing beats one's own mother &/or grandmother's methods that's for sure.

                                                                    1. re: burntcream

                                                                      that's so funny, because i would be horrified if i saw you NOT smash a grilled cheese down ;) to me that's what makes a grilled cheese a grilled cheese and not a "toasted cheese sandwich" or something.

                                                                    2. we found many years ago a thingy that had twp ~6" round concave iron "ears" with a long hahdle jutting from the circles (think lolly-pop). there was a hinge connecting the two circles (think ---oo---). some butter, then a slice of bread is placed in each circle, then the cheese and the anything else. You flip the lolly-pops on top of themselves ans clamp close making a bread pocket.

                                                                      cook over a very low flame until golden brown.

                                                                      the pocket holds the bread air tight and when you bite into it and hope it does not burn the roof of the mouth.

                                                                      magnificent invention from the early 1900's.

                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        I grew up with my mother making round grilled cheese sandwiches in just the contraption you describe! They were the best. Unfortunately, it really only works over a gas flame. We had to give them up when we moved to a house with an electric stove, and now with my flat ceramic cooktop there's no way. I've always been partial to a tiny bit of mayo and sweet pickle relish on my velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          jfood we also had a couple of these. An egg put inside was quite wonderful it sort of fried itself inside the bread.

                                                                          I loved how the bread came out all crunchy.

                                                                          1. re: smartie

                                                                            bacon egg and cheese, wow, nice idea smartie

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              not on a bagel!!!

                                                                              I love brie and tomato on a toastie (English word for a grilled cheese sandwich)

                                                                              1. re: smartie

                                                                                I'm with you "Smartie" - a Bagel is for lox &/or super-dooper cream cheese!

                                                                                Now an English muffin, I say, bring on the Jam!

                                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                  odd how English muffins did not exist in England and are an American export!!

                                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                                    I know - when my friends visit the states from Westminster ( London ) they laugh at the fact that we preface the muffin with "English" when it's neither from England nor is it a "muffin," but I must admit I do enjoy them. The Belvedere ( a breakfast diner with 8 booths & a view of the Atlantic in Virginia Beach ) serves an "eyeopener" which is an open grilled english muffin with gooey cheese, lots of crispy bacon & a fried egg - it's my "hangover helper."

                                                                                    1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                      I have a friend who has family in England. They trade in Thomas' English Muffins like they're a commodity. They smuggle them in.

                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                            In Australia that would be a jaffle iron. Now they have electric ones that cut the sandwich in half, the most ubiquitous made by Breville. Sometimes the younger ones call a jaffle a "Breville" (ugh).

                                                                            Jaffles will never catch on in the U.S. because the panini press has taken hold - much more urbane than a grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                            That said, cheese and PMU baked beans in a jaffle on a Sunday night are a fond childhood memory.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              We had one of those too and it got lots of use. Thanks for reminding me of that contraption!!! As another poster mentioned, it really only worked well on gas. But it did create a sandwich with a uniquie texture and very, very hot.

                                                                              I think I even did a tuna melt in it once.

                                                                              1. re: Fritzy

                                                                                We have one of those still and use it often. We call the finished product "flying saucers". Love the crispy edges of the bread!

                                                                                When making a grilled cheese in a regular pan, though, my secret is to grate some fresh parmesan onto a plate and press the buttered bread (preferable from a nice country boule) into it. The parmesan on the outside melts and crisps in the pan, adding a wonderful flavour and texture to the final product. A nice sharp cheddar on the inside, of course. And some crispy bacon when I feel like gilding the lily.

                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                A Toast-Tite! There's one in my kitchen cabinets now, my most precious inheritance from my grandmother long since departed. I wear her inherited earrings almost daily, but they don't engender the same passion as her Toast-Tite.

                                                                              3. Kaiser roll inside drizzled with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, ripe tomato slice with a pinch of salt, basil leaf, imported Genoa salami, grilled till mozzarella oozes. Swoon.

                                                                                1. My mother is from a little town near Vidalia, Georgia. When I was a kid, she would put a slice of Vidalia onion in the sandwich before it was grilled.

                                                                                  My favorite cheese for grilled sandwiches is Double Gloucester. Tastes like cheddar and melts like the "V" word (no extruded polyvinyl pasturized processed cheese food product will ever cross my lips).

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                    Shame that you'll never enjoy a proper New Mexican chile con queso, then.

                                                                                    There's room in the world for all sorts of grilled cheese sandwiches. I'm personally of the opinion that any cheese and any bread can be put together and grilled. My standard recently has been shredded longhorn colby between two rectangular pieces cut off an Afghani bread from a Montreal bakery (available at Russo's and highly recommended, for my fellow Bostonians), but I'll forever be fond of the grilled cheese sandwich of my youth: one slice of American cheese and a generous teaspoon of Pace picante sauce between two slices of buttered supermarket white bread.

                                                                                    1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                      It most definitely will if you eat-out!

                                                                                    2. Nothing fancy. Seeded rye bread, swiss cheese, bread buttered on the outside(agreed clarified is best). In a pan over lowest heat until toasty and melty.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ziggylu

                                                                                        Yum Zig - Rye bread, Swiss & Pastrami remind me of my late wonderful father. You've inspired me to make my next GC your way!

                                                                                        1. re: ziggylu

                                                                                          You beat me to the seeded (caraway) rye bread/swiss combo! I prefer whole butter (President), and optional: tomato inside. I'll dip in a brown mustard.

                                                                                        2. Lately I've been on a kick using very grainy multigrain bread from La Brea bakery. Slice it fairly thick, spread butter on one side, place in pan, add slices of Cabot Mild Cheddar cheese, then butter another slice of the bread and put on top (butter side up). Then turn on the heat to medium low and keep a close eye on it. Flip when the first side is toasted brown. Then serve when the second side is toasted brown. My husband doesn't usually like grilled cheese sandwiches, but he loves these. :)

                                                                                          1. so does a Reuben sandwich qualify as a grilled cheese with some corned beef and sauerkraut. If it does count jfood in on that one.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              As a dane who attended a principally jewish university in Philadelphia 35 years ago, havarti on seeded rye still works for me. Lots of butter.

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                Classic kosher always works well Veg!

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  mmmm....grilled havarti on rye...that has to be right up there with grilled swiss on rye! Must make one soon...!

                                                                                              2. I recently tried a new spin on grilled cheese. It's an opened faced grilled cheese with aged manchego and a version of goat cheese (called drunken goat, not crumbly at all, but semi-hard). I marinated mushrooms and sliced up some nice plum tomatoes as well. First I browned a nice ciabtta like bread with the ingredients on it in a cast iron pan then finished it off in the broiler. Having it opened faced allows you to really get a nice brownness to the cheese. Try it out it was really good.

                                                                                                1. ...Crispy yet moist at the same time.

                                                                                                  1. Zingerman's Paesano bread with Appenzeller cheese
                                                                                                    dave

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: davebough

                                                                                                      for those of you that have not tried the mayo method
                                                                                                      i think i can sum up the flavor difference
                                                                                                      it gives the sandwich a slight tang that reminds me of that slight tang from eating a pc of sour dough bread i think that is the best reference for you i can use

                                                                                                    2. I love grill cheese made with velveeta and grilled with butter.
                                                                                                      Sometimes when I want something buttery, grilled, and sweet.....I spread peanut butter on two pieces of bread, put chocolate chips on the peanut butter on one piece, and cover the choc chips with powdered sugar....finish the sandwich with the other piece of bread.....grill with butter...nice and brown.........

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: southerngal

                                                                                                        goodness-gracious!

                                                                                                        I do declare - yumyum "southern" !

                                                                                                      2. Try this one out, a thick layer of sausage meat in a baking pan topped with a thick
                                                                                                        layer of velvita, topped with another thick layer of sausage meat topped with a
                                                                                                        thick layer of catsup, bake till done. oui la la

                                                                                                        1. Made one this summer on with American cheese, bacon and Silver Queen corn cut off the cob. Works best to add the corn when the cheese is mostly melted so it has something to stick to. Good on sourdough or nutty bread. Different but tasty!

                                                                                                          1. Grilled turkey and havarti is wonderful, too.

                                                                                                            1. Not so much ingredients as technique - notwithstanding the splendors and wonders of greasy goodness, I find a rye, or sourdough, or other good bread with lovely cheese, perhaps gouda, swiss/parm mixture, even a mozzarella, the occasional sliced mushroom, sprinkling of spices, in a George Foreman style grill, which requires no grease on the outer bread ROCKS the HOUSE. Crispy outside, gooey inside, none of that I-wish-I-didn't-just-do-that remorse.

                                                                                                              1. In her vegetables cookbook, (er, one of them I guess) Georgeanne Brennan did a grilled cheese with a slice of tomato and basil leaves tucked in. I really liked this with fontina or velveeta.

                                                                                                                1. This is our day after Christmas lunch. Buttered homemade Pan de Mie, honey-mustard, thin sliced smoked turkey, red onion and slices of Brie cheese. Cook low and slow. Have some cranberry sauce ready for dipping.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Pampatz

                                                                                                                    Pam I'll be right over on 12/26 - one-ish okay??
                                                                                                                    I love the c-sauce for "dip" too!

                                                                                                                  2. Take one part room temp butter, and one part dijon mustard and cream together. Spread on the inside of two slices of rye bread. Add a slice or two of shaved ham and plenty of swiss. A little plain butter on the outside and fry over low heat.

                                                                                                                    I think I got the recipe from a Julia Child show way back when I was in high school.

                                                                                                                    1. ...crunchy, brown and fragrant on the outside, creamy, warm, salty and tender on the inside.

                                                                                                                      1. I like TJ's Shepherd's bread. It's sturdy and a bit malty. For the filling I grate a nice, sharp cheddar, add a good amount of chopped sweet pimento (from a jar) and moisten it all with a dollop of mayonnaise. Stir it well, it shouldn't be too wet, just sort of pasty. Season to taste with cayenne pepper or a few good grinds of black pepper. It melts beautifully and is creamy and oozy. I was served this by a fine Southern woman years and years ago.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                          oh thanks I sure did miss this. I am so off today (mentally) so I beg forgiveness.
                                                                                                                          Ah....I see whoa.. I have got to try this. I love pimentos from the jar. I wonder what would this be like with green olives stuffed with pimento and grilled on the TJ Shepherds bread.. GAWD for some sick reason that sounds pretty good to me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                            The additions to the cheese and mayo mixture are really endless. But since I love pimento cheese, I pretty much stick with it. I'm musing now about pickled pepperoncinni, or even unpickled jalapenos minced and added. As I said, "endless"!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                              omg yes that sounds wonderful, sweet, tart, hot, cheesy. ooohh a nacho sammy- sort of! Anyway, yes I think the recipe I have is adding butter. I need to look at it. This is something I'm doing. Tell me do you put this in a food processor? or add cream cheese to the cheddar?

                                                                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                No, never did process or add anything beyond what I've mentioned. I just mush the grated cheese and mayo around with a fork until it's a good stiff, but spreadable, paste and stir in the mix-ins. If the mixture is too loose, it will be hard to handle when it's all melty. It's quite "oozy", so best to let it cool a bit before cutting. I hope you'll try it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                                                                                                  wow, I will stick to the plan then, delish!

                                                                                                                        2. Make your grilled cheese with your preferred ingredients. Just before tossing it onto the pan, open the sandwich up and drizzle in a not so thin layer of maple syrup. It'll seep through the holes in the bread while cooking and caramelize with the butter. Delish.

                                                                                                                          1. When I was working on my BA in art history, I had to spend hours and hours staring at the university's museum. I would bribe myself with a grilled cheese sandwich at their cafe as a 'reward' for doing more than 3 hours of work. My memory is hazy, but it had reduced onion chutney on a sturdy bread and was topped with3 kinds of cheese: a sharp cheddar, a blue, and something else. It was sublime. i think it is fair to say that my degree wouldn't have happened had that sandwich not existed.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: relizabeth

                                                                                                                              Yum! Please tell us what university that was! Is the museum cafe still in existance?

                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                it was stanford. I checked the website, and the cafe is still in operation, but no longer has the, i believe it was called, ooey-gooey cheese sandwich. i believe the chef also has a restaurant in palo alto or menlo park; i'm pretty sure her name is Jesse Cool.

                                                                                                                                1. re: relizabeth

                                                                                                                                  Well, that's a long way from Upstate NY to go for a cheese sandwich, but maybe the left coast chowhounds can hunt her down and enjoy that cheese sandwich for me.

                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                Any nice bakery bread. Extra old white Cheddar. Grated apples, pecans and cinnamon. Brie works too. Butter outsides, grill in a lidded, cast iron pan. Serve with a cold glass of hard cider: eat it in the late September sun before your nap.

                                                                                                                              2. Oh oh oh - just remembered - a sour sourdough bread, topped with Cougar Gold (ultra-delicous from Washington State U Ag. School) cheese, press-cooked in a panini press or George Foreman Grill. Die and go to Grilled Cheese HEAVEN.

                                                                                                                                1. wonder bread, orange american cheese, breakstone butter. smashed with a plate until pancake-thin and preferably cooked in a stainless farberware frying pan.

                                                                                                                                  memories... in the corner of my mind......

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: missfunkysoul

                                                                                                                                    Just read about this one in the NY Times...

                                                                                                                                    grilled cheese that weds taleggio cheese with short ribs, arugula and apricot caper purée on raisin bread.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: missfunkysoul

                                                                                                                                      our family used to fight over the color of the american cheese. everyone wanted orange and no one wanted white. never understood why my mom just did not buy orange for everyone.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                        Maybe your Mom liked white? Or maybe the white was cheaper? :)

                                                                                                                                    2. An interesting Times article....on none other than our favorite sandwich.....

                                                                                                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/din...

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                        This article was actually linked on the front page of Yahoo yesterday under featured articles. Can you believe it a secret underground grilled cheese competition : ) By invite only nonetheless!! How can I get my invitation?

                                                                                                                                      2. For all the folks recalling the RETRO STAY-AT-HOME-SICK menu, I recently read an interesting dip recipe...

                                                                                                                                        GRILLED CHEESE WITH TOMATO SOUP DIP :

                                                                                                                                        ***Tomato "Soup":
                                                                                                                                        * 2 pints sweet 100 cherry tomatoes * 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                                                                        * 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt * 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
                                                                                                                                        * 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes * 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
                                                                                                                                        * 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste * 1 1/2 cups canola oil

                                                                                                                                        ***Grilled Cheese:
                                                                                                                                        * 1 loaf pan de mie (may substitute sliced white bread) * 1/2 cup unsalted butter
                                                                                                                                        * 1 pound extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced thick * 1 bunch chives, chopped

                                                                                                                                        ***Instructions:
                                                                                                                                        * Preheat oven to 550 °. Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof skillet. Drizzle with the olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper and the pepper flakes; toss until coated. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes, until caramelized and well broken down. Let cool.

                                                                                                                                        * Put the tomatoes in a blender, add the vinegar, sugar and remaining salt and pepper. Blend on highest setting. With the blender running, slowly add the oil.

                                                                                                                                        * For the grilled cheese: Meanwhile, thinly slice the bread. Evenly butter one side of each slice of bread. Arrange about 2 ounces of cheese on the unbuttered side of half of the bread slices. Cover with the remaining bread slices, unbuttered side toward cheese.

                                                                                                                                        * Heat a skillet over low to medium heat. Put the sandwiches in the skillet and grill until golden brown on both sides, turning once. May be made ahead to this point, then reheated in a 300 oven before serving.

                                                                                                                                        * To serve: Trim off crusts, then cut the sandwiches and into triangles or squares. Arrange on a serving tray. Put the tomato "soup" into a small bowl or coffee cup. Sprinkle tray with chives and encourage guests to dip sandwiches into the "soup." .

                                                                                                                                        1. This is a delicious Italian take on the original. I have made this several times and it is so decadent and rich and totally yummy!! A tip: make sure the olive oil is really hot before putting the sandwich in. I usually omit the turkey as I just prefer a really good grilled cheese. A rustic hearty tomato vegetable soup is a fantastic accompaniment.

                                                                                                                                          Giada's Venetian Panino

                                                                                                                                          8 ounces Gruyere, shredded
                                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
                                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
                                                                                                                                          1 garlic clove, chopped
                                                                                                                                          12 ounces sliced turkey
                                                                                                                                          12 slices wheat or sourdough bread, crusts removed
                                                                                                                                          6 tablespoons olive oil

                                                                                                                                          Into a food processor, add the cheese, butter, mustard, and garlic. Blend until the mixture is thick, smooth and spreadable.

                                                                                                                                          Spread the cheese mixture over 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange the turkey slices over the cheese mixture on 6 of the bread slices. Top sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, cheese mixture side down, pressing gently to adhere. Cut the sandwiches in half.

                                                                                                                                          Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook half of the sandwiches until golden brown and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep them warm. Repeat with remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and sandwiches. Serve immediately.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: mtleahy

                                                                                                                                            Okay - I remember doing GIADA'S method & it was delicious; however, I don't eat turkey, so I substituted sliced Virginia baked ham & my guests & I were happy nonetheless. I love Gruyère anything!

                                                                                                                                          2. Speaking of Grilled Cheese, was watching Opera and she had her chef on and he mentioned that he makes a Pimento Cheese Grilled Sandwich at his restaurant in Chicago that everyone is crazy for. Did I hear that right.
                                                                                                                                            I recently found a recipe for a Pimento Cheese and wondering has anyone tried this?
                                                                                                                                            Sound good to me!

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                              This is my pimento cheese variation for grilled cheese. I mentioned it above.
                                                                                                                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44286...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                Just realized that I can't spell OPRAH!! haha with as much stuff out there with her name you'd think I'd get it right. Oh wait that's HARPO...
                                                                                                                                                Thanks I responded above...

                                                                                                                                              2. If I'm just having regular grilled cheese it's Kraft Singles with mayo on wheat bread (I don't like white bread, never have). Butter on the outside. I heat the pan while I'm making the sandwich and turn the fire down to medium when I put it in.

                                                                                                                                                But most of the time I want something more substantial than just cheese. What I'm into lately is rare roast beef and Lorraine Swiss cheese with horseradish (an abundance of horseradish for me; I can eat it straight right out of the jar). I cook it the same way, maybe a little more slowly so the meat gets warmed through.

                                                                                                                                                Sigh...I'm out of horseradish at the moment. Better get off Chowhound and go to the grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                  Here are my favorite variations on the classic grilled cheese:

                                                                                                                                                  1. Sourdough, mayo inside, sharp cheddar, butter outside.
                                                                                                                                                  2. French, fontina cheese and gruyere cheese, sliced tomato, dijonnaise, butter outside.
                                                                                                                                                  3. Rye, Tuna salad, jarlsberg, red onions and peppercinis, butter outside.
                                                                                                                                                  4. French, fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomato, fresh basil, butter and parmesan cheese outside.

                                                                                                                                                  Mmmmm getting so hungry.

                                                                                                                                                2. Between two slices of white bread (this is grilled cheese... the whiter and crappier, the better), two slices of cheddar cheese and three large crispy pieces of disgustingly greasy bacon. Slather the outside with a fairly generous quantity of margarine (I'm a huge butter advocate, but prefer margarine for grilled cheese) and cook until golden.

                                                                                                                                                  Extremely simple, unhealthy, and delicious, just like grilled cheese should be. I'm convinced that if I have to put more than ten seconds of thought into my grilled cheese, I'm doing it wrong.

                                                                                                                                                  1. There are grilling cheese devices on there own, first of all.A great grilled cheese sandwich should always have challah, havarti, tomatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kingofchow

                                                                                                                                                      yumyum Kingof....just how I like it....with Plugra & slowly grilled of course !

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                                                                                        I'm hearing a lot lately about this Plugra. Anyone know if this is available anywhere in Canada? I'm a whore for butter (I could eat it by itself happily) and I want to know if I can get my hands on it.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: vorpal

                                                                                                                                                          It's considerated great for cooking/baking, but I don't think it tastes as good as most imported butters by itself. It's made by the same company as Borden/Breakstone/Hotel Bar here in the US, if that helps.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I am pretty sure the original margarine was used to feed turkeys and make them fat, but it didnt work, and they had all those factories, so they fed it to humans

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kingofchow

                                                                                                                                                        ewwwwww... that is all i have to say to that.

                                                                                                                                                        finally made a grilled cheese that i didn't burn.
                                                                                                                                                        butter on the inside...olive oil on the out side...low heat...cast iron skillet...shreaded montery and jack...challa...perfect

                                                                                                                                                        then we found out that the baby (20 months) can't have dairy (or chocolate)
                                                                                                                                                        oh well at least i can make grilled cheese for the grown-ups