I don’t remember the last time I made a grilled cheese sandwich. But we finally found cheddar that we like here in Saarbruecken, and I decided to celebrate by making grilled cheese. I didn’t want to make just a regular old boring grilled cheese, though, so I pulled out various flavorful additions I had in the fridge: jalapeno, sage, garlic, and lime.
I bought a mild rye “farmer’s bread” at the bakery, and rubbed one clove of garlic into two slices of bread, adding the remaining bits of crushed garlic to the sandwich. I then buttered the non-garlic side of each slice of bread and sprinkled the butter with salt (since butter in Germany is unsalted). I added a moderate amount of cheese, and cooked the sandwich in a covered non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, until both sides were browned and the cheese was melted. Then I opened the sandwich up and sprinkled on a good amount of diced jalapeno and minced sage. Yum. Derek thought the sandwich needed more cheese to be a truly decadent grilled cheese, but I liked it just fine. We also tried drizzling the grilled cheese with a little lime juice, which brought all the flavors together beautifully.
I made this again for lunch today using a bit more jalapeno and garlic and cheese, and Derek said he thinks it’s the best grilled cheese he ever had. He said he’d be very happy to get it in a restaurant. He added that he though Anthony Bourdain would like it. I’m not sure how I feel about that last comment, since I’m not a big fan of Bourdain.
My best estimates of amounts per sandwich:
- 2 small pieces of rye bread
- 1.5 – 2 tsp. of unsalted butter + two pinches of salt
- 1.5 ounces of cheddar
- 1.5 tsp. of minced jalapeno with seeds
- 1.5 tsp. of minced sage
- 1 small clove of garlic
- a few small squirts of lime juice
I think it might be better to add the jalapeno before cooking and the sage and lime afterwards. Otherwise the sage gets a little too cooked?
Update December 2011:
We made the grilled gruyere and red onion sandwiches with grainy mustard from Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. But we used less oil/butter than he calls for to cook the onions, and skipped the draining the onions step, since the onions didn’t seem to have that much extra fat on them. I used 1.5 ounces of gruyere per sandwich, and Derek said it wasn’t enough. He says we should use 2 ounces as Berley suggests. I bought the more aged, more expensive gruyere, but next time I would just buy the cheaper one because once it’s melted I don’t think you can tell the difference. We didn’t have grainy mustard, just normal dijon, but we liked the combination of red onions, cheese, and dijon. But I thought it was missing something. It needed an herb I think. It certainly wasn’t as good as my combo above. I made that again to compare and Derek said it was definitely better, even though I forgot the garlic. But Derek wants me to up the cheese amount to 2 ounces.