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A Bagel Grilled Cheese Done Right

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When you hear that a restaurant is serving an inverted-bagel grilled cheese, 1) you go try it and 2) you know it will be good. But then when you hear that Sadelle’s—the new, very popular, Jewish-inspired joint from the folks behind other buzzy New York restaurants—is the spot, you wait for photos of the dish to magically appear on the internet. They arrive, undoubtedly, and then you decide if it’s worth waiting in line for.

The sandwich that deserves a moment of silence: an inside out bagel grilled cheese #onemoredish

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A photo posted by NYC Food & Lifestyle (@onemoredish) on

I am not a line-waiter regularly, and I wasn’t going to be for this sandwich—because it, plainly, looked really hard to eat. Is there any cheese in the sandwich or is it all oozing down the sides? How do you handle the goopy melty cheese center? How do you pick the bagel up without cheese drooling down your arm?

Will I get grease on my phone while I take a picture of the sandwich?

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My practicality and unwillingness to try this sandwich has no relation to the fact that the idea is awesome. Jeff Zalaznick, who created the Sadelle’s version, flips the bagel inside out so that all the seeds on the bagel stay put and don’t burn while the bagel belly gets griddled. It’s a bagel, with melted cheese topping. It’s worth getting right.

Inside Out Bagel Grilled Cheese
Inside Out Bagel Grilled Cheese

The version you see above is more refined not as messy. Slices of cheese (instead of grated slivers) tip toe around the bagel, avoiding the center, which means less risk of losing cheese to the black hole. But to further help cheese stay where it needs to be, I’d suggest adding a filling that adds structure—ham, salami, turkey, roasted portobello mushroom, tomato slice. You don’t need this, but it’s supportive, and delicious.

The last piece to cracking the inverted bagel grilled cheese sandwich recipe is smushing. Something about science makes it important. You’re asking cheese to hold onto a downward-sloping surface, so pressing the sandwich together with a spatula a couple times helps that happen. You’ll lose some bagel poufiness, but the payoff means the difference between happily eating an inverted bagel grilled cheese and only complaining / looking at pictures of one.

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Inside Out Bagel Grilled Cheese

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Makes 1 sandwich
  • 2 schmears mayonnaise or butter
  • 1 bagel, halved (preferably something with seeds, like an everything bagel)
  • 8 or so thin slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • Fillings as you wish: Portobello mushroom, ham, salami, tomato slices, etc.

Tags: grilled cheese, bagel, bagels, sandwich, new york city