Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

March 21, 2014

When I first read that Chris Kimball had a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches, I thought he had gone off the deep end. Next he’ll be telling me the best method for pouring a bowl of breakfast cereal. But then I watched the episode of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) where they interviewed people who were obviously just as skeptical as I was about using a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches. Per the recipe, I found cheddar that was aged for one year (heading the advice to avoid cheddar aged for longer; as it won’t melt well). Of course the Brie was easier to track down. While the recipe doesn’t take much more time, ATK claimed 5 extra minutes, it does make a considerably mess (food processor, bowl, sheet pan and wire rack). I was not expecting these grilled cheese to have a classic flavor profile, but I was slightly disappointed that it failed to impress me. The flavors were different, but not necessarily better. The shallot and wine seemed a bit out-of-place. I liked the more expensive cheese, but the cheese slightly separated and oozed out too much. 3-1/2 stars.

Much ado about nothing

Much ado about nothing

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $6 for 4 sandwiches.
How much work? Low/Medium
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Started: 1pm. Ready: 1:45pm.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below:

7-oz cheddar cheese (aged up to 1 year)
2-oz Brie cheese
2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth
1/2 shallot (4 teaspoons minced)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices hearty white sandwich bread

  1. Either leave your cheddar and butter out on counter-top until it reaches room temperature or microwave for 30 seconds. Cut cheddar into 24 equal pieces. Cut away and discard rind from Brie. Mince your shallot.
  2. Add cheddar cubes, Brie and wine into food processor and process for about 25 seconds until forms a smooth paste. Add minced shallot and pulse 3 to 5 times until combined.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to combine the butter and mustard in small bowl.
  4. Line your counter-top with 18″ of parchment or wax paper. Evenly spread mustard/butter over 1 side of all 8 slices of bread.
  5. Flip 4 of the slices so that the buttered side faces down, and use your spatula/knife to evenly spread the cheese over the 4 slices. Close your sandwiches with the remaining 4 slices of bread.
  6. Place a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium burner and pre-heat for 2 minutes. You can test by flicking drops of water into pan and they should sizzle.
  7. Reduce burner to medium-low, and cook 2 or 3 sandwiches at a time. Cook for 6 to 9 minutes, occasionally moving the sandwiches to ensure they brown evenly. Flip sandwiches and brown for another 6 to 9 minutes.
  8. Remove sandwiches from skillet and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving. The first sandwiches can be held in a 200-degree oven on a wire rack set in a baking sheet.

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