JEFF TIEDEMAN: Grilled cheese, pleaseKids love these sandwiches, and so do most adults.
There is something really satisfying about a grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe it’s the crunchiness of the bread on the outside. Or the gooey, warm inside. Perhaps, it’s that combination.
Regardless, this easy-to-make, old-as-the-hills favorite is an epicurean delight in my opinion and in that of grilled cheese expert and author Laura Werlin.
The James Beard Award winner, who penned “Great Grilled Cheese,” has come out with her second book on the popular sandwich. And the timing is impeccable, since April is National Grilled Cheese Month.
“Grilled Cheese, Please!” features 50 new recipes — from nostalgic to modern, from ethnic to all-American and from savory to sweet — including Chips and Guacamole Grilled Cheese and Mozzarella with Crispy Prosciutto and Broccoli Rabe.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the book because grilled cheese sandwiches have been a favorite of mine — and many others — since childhood. Friends have shared stories about how their moms — just like mine — would make the tasty sandwiches, serving them with tomato soup. (I dipped mine in the hot soup.)
Nearly everyone loves grilled cheese sandwiches — even kids. Just the other day, our grandson was over for supper. Given the choice between a sandwich or stir-fry, Rakeem’s answer was a resounding “grilled cheese.”
Some may scoff at the sandwich, since one contains 780 milligrams of sodium, 20 fat grams (14 grams saturated) and 61 milligrams of cholesterol. But they also deliver heart-healthy omega-3 (23 percent of the recommended daily intake based on 2,000 calories a day) and omega-6 fatty acids (6 to 9 percent) and 11.6 grams of protein (about 26 percent).
A grilled cheese sandwich also provides a number of minerals and vitamins as well as 28 grams of carbohydrates and 1.2 grams fiber — or more if you switch to whole-wheat bread.)
And for growing kids, grilled cheese sandwiches are loaded with calcium (from bread, cheese, butter), important for building bones.
Here are a few tips from Werlin for making a foolproof grilled cheese sandwich:
n Grated cheese (such as Cheddar, fontina or gouda) melts faster and more evenly than sliced cheese — grating ensures the perfect melt before the sandwich burns.
n Use salted butter for the best flavor, and butter the bread, not the pan. Thinly sliced bread and soft butter work best.
n Don’t rush the cooking process. Grill sandwiches slowly over medium heat; watch carefully for maximum melt and crispy bread.
n Cover the sandwich during the cooking process to lock in the heat. This will help melt the cheese faster and more evenly.
n Use a spatula to press down firmly on the sandwich while cooking; flip the sandwich twice (pressing with each flip) to ensure crisp bread and thoroughly melted cheese.
And don’t forget the tomato soup!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 701-780-1136 or toll-free at 800-477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.