Grilled Cheese All Grown-Up

prepared by and photo by Emily S. Downs

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese?  Seems to be the trend in various cooking publications as well.  Below I’ve listed 3 suggestions but check out these sites to give you even more inspiration… grilled cheese sandwiches & grown-up grilled cheese.

Size: These 3 recipes make 2 of each sandwich

4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup 1/4" thick sliced shallots
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Four 1/2" thick slices country-style white bread (I also use potato bread)
8 oz Gruyere, sliced 1/8" thick
Four 1/2" thick slices country bread (I also use Italian bread)
3 tbsp garlic-flavored olive oil
4 oz smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
4 thick-cut bacon slices
4 slices country-style sourdough bread or batard (cut on deep diagonal)
1 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)
4 tomato slices, seeds removed, slices drained on paper towels
2 tbsp mayonnaise


GRUYERE GRILLED CHEESE:  Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat 2 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over high heat.  When butter begins to foam, add shallots and thyme; season w/salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring continuously w/a wooden spoon or spatula, until shallots begin to soften and caramelize, 4-5 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Working in 2 batches, add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl in pan to melt butter and coat bottom of pan.  Add 2 slices of bread to pan and cook until golden brown and crisp on the bottom, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer bread, toasted side down, to a rimmed baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining butter and bread slices.  Divide cheese evenly among bread slices; top cheese with reserved shallots.

Place baking sheet in oven and bake until cheese is melted, 7-8 minutes.

Press 2 pieces of bread together, melted cheese sides in ; halve sandwich on a diagonal and place on a plate.  Repeat w/remaining bread slices.

TUSCAN GRILLED CHEESE:  Brush 1 side of each bread slice lightly w/oil, using about 1 tablespoon total.  On 2 slices, arrange half of cheese, then tomato, basil, and remaining cheese.  Top with remianing bread slices, oil side down.  Brush tops of sandwiches w/about 1 tablespoon of remaining oil.

Heat medium skillet or range-top grill pan over medium heat.  Place sandwiches, oil side down, in skillet.  Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Cook until sandwiches are golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, turing once, about 5 minutes per side.

GRILLED CHEDDAR, TOMATO & BACON:  Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes.  Transfer bacon to paper towels and drain.  Wash and dry skillet.

Place 2 bread slices on work surface.  Press 1/4 cup grated cheese onto each slice.  Top each with 2 tomato slices.  Sprinkle w/pepper.  Place 2 bacon slices atop each, breaking into pieces if necessary to fit.  Press 1/4 cup grated cheese over bacon on each.  Top sandwiches with remaining bread slices, then spread 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise over top of each sandwich.

Heat a heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add both sandwiches, mayonnaise side down, to each skillet.  Place plate atop both sandwiches to weigh down.  Cook sandwiches until bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Spread top of each sandwich with 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise.  Turn sandwiches over, mayonnaise side down.  Top with plates and cook until golden brown on bottom, about 2 minutes.  Transfer sandwiches to work surface.  Cut sandwiches crosswise in half and serve.

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Author: Emily Sarah Downs

Cuisine Coordinator, Tips From Town, Ridgewood, NJ


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