In springtime of last year, I was in Los Angeles with my mother-in-law, my sister, and my daughter Alex. We went all over the place, checking out restaurants and shops and trying bites of delicious food here and there. We also ate at Sur, the restaurant of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump, but that’s on the long list of Things I’ve Done But Have Forgotten to Write About. I need to start knocking things off on that list before it gets too long!
Anyway, one of the miscellaneous food places we went to was a cool little establishment called Stir Market, and they had this outlandishly preposterous grilled cheese sandwich, which featured buttered bread, cheese inside, outside, over, under, and all around.
Again: It was preposterous.
It’s been on my mind, so I made a replica yesterday…with one important exception! I did not have even a suggestion of good bread in the house…and good bread is absolutely required if you want to make this sandwich. The bread I used was fine, but it was soft and without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the yeast.
(Sorry. Had a Genesis moment there.)
Anyway, please don’t make this sandwich unless you have a nice, substantial sourdough sandwich bread or some hearty Italian or French bread. One that isn’t soft and that doesn’t easily get soggy.
And make no mistake: my sandwich below turned out just fine! I ate every bite. But to quote the legendary 80’s pop artist Tiffany, “It coulda been so beautiful…”
First: Usually when you make a grilled cheese, it’s customary to grab…well, some cheese. I used a mix of cheddar…
And Monterey jack.
Always grate your own!
Now, you need some soft, soft butter. This was leftover from some lofty cookie idea I had on Saturday—one, by the way, I got distracted and forgot about. It’s how I roll.
And now I want a cookie.
Because I used soft, soft bread, I didn’t want it to get soggy, so I just spread on a super thin amount. If you use sourdough or other substantial bread, go ahead and spread on a little more. Just remember that the cheese will produce a little grease as it melts…which is why cheese is so dang good.
Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on both halves, making sure the cheese sticks to the buttah.
Turn over one of the slices (yes, butter and cheese side down, but it will be fine!) and put a nice layer of cheese on top. This will actually be the gooey center.
I’m not sure there’s going to be enough cheese in this sandwich.
Carefully lift the other piece and put it on top of the piece with the filling. Is this the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in your life?
Okay, fine. Maybe it’s the 17,449th craziest thing in your life.
But at least that’s something!
Place it in a skillet over medium-low (to medium, depending on how hot your stove gets) heat. I think a nonstick skillet might be the best bet…but I decided to take a walk on the wild side with iron.
Take a peek every now and then and make sure it isn’t burning…and when it looks nice and golden brown and—yes—crispy (look at that surface!) flip it to the other side. Then just keep on cooking it until the center is melted and gooey. You might need to flip it over another time or two to make sure it doesn’t burn before the cheese is melted. You can always turn the heat down if you feel you need a little more time.
Ahhh. It’s done! You can see that nice, thin, crispy outer coating. You can also see the softness of the bread. That won’t happen to you because you’re going to use good bread, right?
Good lands. I don’t say that very often, and when I do, it usually involves melted cheese.
Enjoy every bite! And use whatever melting cheese you want. (Swiss would be astounding.)
And at the risk of sounding like a broken record: Use good, crusty, substantial bread! You won’t be sorry.
Here’s the printable!
Crispy Grilled Cheese
- PREP TIME: 5 Minutes
- DIFFICULTY: Easy
- COOK TIME: 5 Minutes
- SERVINGS: 1 Servings
- 2 slices Good Sourdough Sandwich Bread Or Crusty French Bread
- Softened Butter
- Grated Cheese Of Your Choice: Cheddar, Jack, Swiss, Gruyere
Spread one side of both pieces of bread with a small amount of softened butter. Sprinkle a small amount of grated cheese on each slice—just enough to stick to the butter. Turn one piece over and place a larger amount of cheese on top (this will be the filling). Place the other piece on top. Carefully transfer it to the skillet and cook on both sides until the middle filling is melted and gooey (watch to make sure the surface doesn’t burn! It should be nice deep golden brown.)
Slice in half and dig in!