My friend Dave has decided to embark on a clean eating lifestyle starting in February. Being the super supportive friend that I am, what did I do to help him on his way? Did I make him a healthy salad? A delicious bowl of quinoa? A green smoothie perhaps? Nope— it was still January 30th so I decided to send him off in style with a grilled cheese sandwich with three types of cheese, cooked in a pool of butter and with a couple slices of prosciutto thrown in for good measure. The time for salads is tomorrow. For now— EAT. MORE. CHEESE!
Now– I never ate grilled cheese sandwiches as a kid so I don’t have a loving nostalgia for pools of yellow semi-artificial cheese between two pieces of toast. I like my grilled cheese sandwiches with grown up ingredients and very well constructed. Sometime they’re great with just a great blend of cheeses, but there is definitely a time and place to throw in some pork products, some chutneys, some fruit or even an avocado. Its all about finding the right balance of flavor and texture to take this from a sandwich to a “SAND-WICH!”
1) If you’re using multiple types of cheese, shred them all together so you get a nice blend of flavors. In fact, I shred any hard cheese I use just because it makes it easier to distribute the cheese evenly.
2) Don’t use pre-shredded cheese. In order to keep it from clumping it is usually coated in an additive. In addition to the idea of the additive being icky, it actually changes the texture of the cheese when it melts.
3) If you use different toppings put them between layers of cheese to prevent the bread from getting soggy. This is especially true for jams, chutneys, honey or fruit.
4) I like to have a fully built sandwich to put into the pan so buttering the outside of my bread can get messy. I put my sandwich into a pool of melted butter at low heat.
5) Cook your sandwich on very low heat. It may take longer than you want to wait for your cheesy goodness, but it allows the cheese to melt completely without the bread burning.
6) If you are making many sandwiches or you won’t be eating yours right away (weird), then keep your sandwich in an oven set to 200 degrees to keep it warm until you’re ready to chow down.
- 4 slices of thick white bread
- 1½ cups of grated gruyere or other good melting cheese (I used a blend of gruyere, Landaff and Pawlet)
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- 1 pear, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons of chutney or jam (I used spicy plum chutney)
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet at low heat. While the butter is melting assemble your sandwiches.
- Spread half of the cheese over two slices of bread. Lay two slices of prosciutto on each of the two slices, top each with 1 tablespoon of chutney and a layer of sliced pear. Add the remaining cheese over the pear and top with the other two slices of bread.
- Place the sandwiches carefully into the melted butter to coat the bottom piece of bread. Immediately turn over and allow the sandwich to cook on the second side for 6-8 minutes. Once most of the cheese seems melted and the bread is golden brown, flip the sandwich over and cook for 4 more minutes.
- Serve with salad (or with a second sandwich!)