Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
I just discovered that there’s a national grilled cheese month (April). Who’da thunk it? Obviously a cheese board somewhere. With the two simple core ingredients of bread and cheese, the grilled cheese sandwich innately lends itself to added bells and whistles. Fake meat, veggies, chocolate, fruit or even the kitchen sink if you feel so inclined.
I personally don’t want to wait till the spring to have myself one of those ooey gooey melt-in-your-mouth sandwiches. I took it upon myself (on my readers’ behalf, of course) to research the best of the best, over the top, can’t-wait-to-stuff-it-all-in-my-mouth-at-once grilled cheese delights.
Be warned, these are not your grandma’s grilled cheese sandwiches. All are gourmet and yet so simple that you’re gonna wanna try them all.
Mock Chicken and Grilled Cheese (dairy)
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
4 freshly cut slices from a sourdough loaf
6 ounces thinly sliced fake chicken nuggets, cut into pieces
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 slices Muenster cheese
1. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and chili flakes.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and milk.
3. Spread parmesan on a plate.
4. In a large frying pan, melt half the seasoned butter over medium heat. Dip 1 bread slice in egg mixture, coating one side only. Dip coated side into parmesan.
5. Place to one side in frying pan, cheese side down. Repeat with one of remaining bread slices.
6. Arrange the fake chicken nugget pieces, avocado, cilantro, and Muenster on slices, dividing evenly. Dip remaining bread into egg and then into parmesan.
7. Arrange on sandwiches, cheese side up, and cook over medium heat until undersides are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
8. Lift sandwiches and add remaining butter to pan; flip and cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Modified from Sunset, July 2009
Fake Bacon, Pear and Grilled Cheese (dairy)
4 slices French or Italian loaf bread
4 slices fake bacon, cooked
1 Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
2 slices provolone cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1. Place a slice of cheese on top of one of the slices of bread. Place few slices of pear on top and then top with two strips of the fake bacon, another slice of cheese and then the last slice of bread. Repeat with the second sandwich.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and place both sandwiches in the pan. Cook until the bread is golden.
3. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Flip the sandwich over and cook until the bread is golden.
4. Remove from the pan and serve.
Tip: This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Modified from seriouseats.com.
Artichoke Grilled Cheese (dairy)
4 slices of bread
shredded cheddar cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 jarred red peppers drained and cut to fit bread slice
2 tablespoons butter
1. Spread the mustard on the bread. Place a handful of shredded cheese on top of 2 slices of bread.
2. Place the artichoke hearts and red peppers over the cheese. Top with the remaining 2 slices of bread.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and place both sandwiches in pan. Cook until one side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and carefully flip the sandwich. Cook until the second side is golden and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Mock Crab Melt (dairy)
1 cup fake crabmeat, shredded
1/3 cup finely diced red pepper
2 green onions minced
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 stalk celery, finely diced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon pepper
4 thick slices whole wheat bread
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. In a bowl, combine the shredded fake crabmeat, red pepper, green onions, rice wine vinegar, mayonnaise and pepper.
2. Generously spread butter on two slices of bread. Dust generously with paprika. Place bread butter side down in the pan.
3. While bread is cooking, place 1/4 of the cheese on each of the two slices. Spread half the crab salad on each; top with remaining cheese.
4. Spread butter and sprinkle paprika on the remaining bread and place it butter side up on top of the cheese. Press down.
5. Cook the sandwich until bottom is crispy, about 3 minutes, then flip if over. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. Makes 2 sandwiches.
Modified from about.com.
Caprese Grilled Cheese (dairy)
8 slices Challah or sour dough bread, 1-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 (1-ounce) slices mozzarella cheese
2 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese
3 large fresh tomatoes cut into thin slices
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 avocados, pitted and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1. Heat griddle or large sauté pan over medium heat. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Brush other side of bread with balsamic vinegar. Place 4 slices of bread, oil side down, on the griddle.
2. Layer the mozzarella, provolone tomato, basil and avocado on the top of the bread. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining 4 slices of bread.
3, Cook until bread is golden brown and cheese is slightly melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the bread is golden.
Modified from the grilledcheeseacademy.com, created by Alison Lewis.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.