December 24, 2008

Cheap Eats and Frugal Recipes: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

We've all have them, we all love them, and there's lots of memories we all share about the All American Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Here's what I recommend as your jumping-off board for a Great Grilled Cheese:

1. It's GRILLED. None of this throwing the bread into a toaster and then slapping the cheese between the toasted slices and nuking it in the microwave. That's just sad. Don't try the toaster oven, either. Suck it up and get your frying pan out. You've got to use the stove top for this one.

2. Get your butter. Not fake butter - no Country Crock here. The real stuff. Throw a tablespoon into your frying pan, or onto your griddle, and let it melt.

3. Take two thick slices of bread and throw them onto the hot, buttery panface. Here, you can play with flavors and textures as time goes by: a pumpernickel grilled cheese can be decadent, a rye can be nice, and a traditional white bread can be scrumpious. Around here, it's usually a 12-grain baked by the local grocer.

4. Slap some mustard and some mayo onto those slices as they are toasting up. I suppose you could do this before they hit the heat, but it can be messier that way. And, yes -- one of the big secrets here is a little bit of both: mustard and mayo.

5. Now, carefully place your cheese slices on the bread. A little on each toasting slice. Once again, play with the flavors. Swiss with the rye and some German mustard versus american on whole wheat with dijon - you get the idea.

6. Using a spatula, take one of your slices and carefully place it atop the other. Voila! A magnificent, tasty, and cheap meal for you!

For more information:

Alton Brown's Big Cheese Squeeze (he grates his cheese, and opts for olive oil instead of butter)

Emeril's Baby Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (he uses cream cheese combined with mascapone, and adds chives to the mix)

Sandra Lee's Grilled Cheese and Crab Sandwiches (yep, she adds canned crab to shredded Gruyere)

Julia Child's Grilled Cheese and Onion Sandwich () she uses English Muffins, thinly sliced raw onions, and Parmesan cheese).

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