Robust grilled cheese sandwiches for adults, not just kids
Grilled cheese has a kids' menu reputation, but just a few tweaks make it a sophisticated dinner option.
To create a sandwich with more robust flavor and personality without going overboard on toppings and additions, we focused on the cheese. Our recipe began by mixing flavorful aged cheddar with a small amount of Brie and some wine in a food processor. Those two ingredients helped the cheddar melt evenly without becoming greasy.
A little bit of shallot increased the sandwiches' complexity without detracting from the cheese, and a smear of mustard-butter on the bread added a sharp bite. Look for a cheddar aged for about one year (avoid cheddar aged for longer; it won't melt well). To bring the cheddar to room temperature quickly, microwave the pieces until warm, about 30 seconds.
Grown-up grilled cheese with cheddar and shallot
Start to finish: 30 minutes
7 ounces aged cheddar cheese, cut into 24 equal pieces, room temperature
2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed
2 tablespoons dry white wine or dry vermouth
4 teaspoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices hearty white sandwich bread
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 F. Process cheddar, Brie, and wine in food processor until smooth paste forms, 20 to 30 seconds. Add shallot and pulse to combine, 3 to 5 pulses; transfer to bowl. In separate bowl, combine butter and mustard.
Brush butter-mustard mixture evenly over 1 side of each slice of bread. Flip 4 slices over and spread cheese mixture evenly over second side. Top with remaining 4 slices bread, buttered side up, and press down gently.
Heat 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place 2 sandwiches in skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until both sides are crisp and golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes per side.
Transfer sandwiches to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and cook remaining 2 sandwiches. Serve.
— Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Comte and Cornichon: Substitute Comte for cheddar, minced cornichon for shallots, and rye sandwich bread for white sandwich bread.
— Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Gruyere and Chives: Substitute Gruyere for cheddar, chives for shallots, and rye sandwich bread for white sandwich bread.
— Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Asiago and Dates: Substitute Asiago for cheddar, finely chopped pitted dates for shallot, and oatmeal sandwich bread for white sandwich bread.
— Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Robiola and Chipotle: Substitute Robiola, rind removed, for cheddar; 1/4 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce for shallots; and oatmeal sandwich bread for white sandwich bread.
Nutrition information per serving: 566 calories; 298 calories from fat; 33 g fat (20 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 90 mg cholesterol; 840 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 20 g protein.