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Perfect Grilled Cheese

PERFECT GRILLED CHEESE

A few words..

1. Be patient.

Two things can happen if you rush the grilled-cheese-making process. In one scenario, you quite literally take the sandwich off the of the pan before the bread reaches a deep golden-brown. You may be hungry and tired, but accept that it takes a bit of time to get optimally toasted bread. We’re also not that sorry, because it doesn’t take too much time (5–7 minutes).

But more often, you toast (or worse, burn!) the bread before the cheese melts. This happens when your heat is too high and your pan is too hot: Before the inside gets gooey, the outside blackens.

Here’s the right way to do it: Start in a cold pan (same as you would if you were trying to get crispy skin on a filet of fish or thick chicken thigh). This allows for the pan to heat up slowly, ensuring that the heat is evenly distributed as the cheese gently but surely melts and the bread develops the ideal crunch and color.

2.  Use Ghee.
I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU HAVE READ!  Ghee is the MVP for grilled cheese.  Don't use mayo or regular butter.  Trust me...I'm a chef.
4. Use a melting cheese.

I love parm, Manchego, and feta as much as the next person, but no way are we using those for grilled cheese. Some cheeses are born to melt; others not so much. My recipe uses a combo of cheeses. It's a fail-proof combo, but if you want to play around, feel free. As long as your cheeses are in the melting family, you’ll be alright.

5. Carefully consider your fillings.

Full disclosure: There was a fair amount of discussion about whether we should add fillings to our grilled cheese at all This is a sandwich that doesn’t need fillings—but it certainly likes them. Not just any filling, though. You'll need to be smart about what you choose. Stay away from anything watery (unless it’s a peak-season summer tomato) so that your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. And remember: Anything that you wouldn’t want to eat raw on its own (mushrooms, yellow onion, bacon) won’t cook in the sandwich—you’re going to need to cook it ahead of time. Lastly, think about balance of flavor: Balance the fatty cheese and buttery bread with something bright and sharp.

Ingredients

2 slices ½”-thick Pullman or Brioche

4 tablespoons ghee

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 oz shredded sharp cheddar

2 oz shredded jarlsberg

1 oz shredded mozzarella

1 oz sliced brie

Directions

Place bread on a cutting board and spread ghee over top side of each; this is key to a golden, delectable crunch. Heat a small skillet (nonstick, ideally) over medium. Slide in half of butter. When it melts, place 1 slice of bread, ghee side down, in skillet; top with cheese; season if desired.  Top with second slice of bread, ghee side up. When underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes, turn sandwich and add remaining butter to skillet. Press down on sandwich to encourage even browning and to help melt cheese—be gentle, don’t smash it. Cook until second side is golden brown and cheese is melted. KEEP THE HEAT LOW!

*NOTE:  I stand my sandwich up in the pan and crisp the edges always... so FIYAH!


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