Just in time for April’s National Grilled Cheese Month, a holiday guaranteed to appeal to your inner child, Laura Werlin enters into the spirit with gooey sandwiches that will please artisanal ingredient gourmets and comfort food nostalgics.
She’s figured out that the combinations of bread, cheese, and accoutrements can be an endless source of inspiration and pleasure. It can also be a business plan, but that’s another post.
And just to make sure you get the best results, she begins the book with a few simple techniques—grate the cheese, keep the cheese thick and the bread thin, flatten, then cook low and slow.
Werlin has done the research—who knew! She divides cheese into four categories from easy melters (American, Colby, Cheddar) to non-melting, but well flavored (Pecorino, Asiago, and Monterey Jack). She gives the same attention to bread suggesting choices from focaccia to pain au levain.
The recipes begin with grown-up ingredients like Robiola, truffle oil, Manchego, and arugala, but not all her combinations rely on unique ingredients. A sandwich she calls the Ultimate Childhood Flashback calls for nothing more than good old white bread, American cheese, pickles, and potato chips. Aah, shades of the school cafeteria.
Most of her recipes will nudge you out of the everyday with surprising combinations of sweet and savory in a Dutch Treat of bananas and Gouda broiled with a caramelized sprinkle of brown sugar. Regional flavors make a visit in pimento cheese and Philly cheesesteak versions and global treats include Welsh Rarebit, a Cubano, or a Monte Cristo.
There really is more to grilled cheese than white bread and American cheese, so get out your griddle and celebrate.