The best grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten was from the Caseus Cheese Truck in New Haven, CT. Golden, crispy sourdough bread, a mixture of melty cheeses, some good mustard, those little fancy pickles, and a glass-bottled Coke. Here’s my version. You can customize the cheapness of this sandwich to what’s in your cheese drawer. I happened to find some Gruyere, sharp cheddar and robiola that needed to be used up. I make this for the kids all the time, minus the sage leaves, with plain old yellow American cheese in the plastic wrappers. It’s got superior meltability. - mrslarkin —mrslarkin
Test Kitchen Notes
We tend to think of grilled cheese as comfort food at its simplest, but the little touches here -- a few sage leaves, a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a dollop of grainy Dijon and a garnish of bright little cornichons -- add up to a very sophisticated treat. Be sure to use the best sourdough you can find, and don't forget to wash it all down with an ice-cold bottle of Coke. - Kukharka —mitschlag
shredded or thinly sliced cheese of your choice (soft or semi-hard melty cheese only)
unsalted butter, softened
fresh sage leaves
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated with a microplane grater
cornichons, or regular pickles
whole grain mustard
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium/medium-low heat. Spread one side of bread with butter -- don't be shy. Press two sage leaves on the butter, and swipe the leaves with a little more butter so they adhere. Repeat with second slice of bread.
Lay one slice of bread in hot pan, butter and sage side down. Place cheese on the bread in the pan. Top with second slice of bread, butter and sage side up. Grill for a few minutes. You’ll hear the butter start to sizzle. Carefully check bottom of sandwich; you’re looking for golden-brown.
With a spatula, carefully flip the sandwich, and cook for another few minutes, again looking for golden-brown. Sprinkle the top of the sandwich with half of the Parmigiano, making sure to cover the sage leaves. Flip the sandwich back over and cook for a few seconds to crisp the Parmigiano. (Don’t leave it too long or the Parmigiano will burn.) Sprinkle the rest of the Parmigiano on the top slice and flip once more to crisp that side -- a few more seconds and you’re done!
Serve with cornichons, or their cheaper cousin the dill pickle, mustard, and a cold glass-bottled Coke.