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Raise Your Grilled Cheese Game By Making These Sandwiches – Orange County Register

Raise Your Grilled Cheese Game By Making These Sandwiches - Orange County Register

Ah, the delights of the modern melt, updated grilled cheese toasties made with a sizzling press gizmo and ingredients that sing in harmonizing notes. Cheese with apples and ham. Cheese with marinated onions and whole grain mustard. Cheese with olives, bell peppers and capers, plus a leaf or two of spinach. Oozy goosy delicious.

Almost 20 years ago my daughters gave me a nice electric sandwich maker for my birthday. It’s a non-stick ribbed machine, like an Italian panini machine that compresses and grills at the same time. It has been supplying delicious toasted sandwiches for years, many of which follow recipes from cheese expert Laura Werlin. Her cookbook, “Great Grilled Cheese” (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, $16.95) broadened my path to grilled sandwiches.

Now I don’t just make them for quick lunch or dinner, I cut them into small portions and serve them with cocktails as appetizers. Or I cut them into fingers and use them as a warm crouton-like garnish on green salads.

Using a sandwich maker requires little supervision. But other devices and techniques can be used. A large non-stick frying pan can certainly work with attention to timing and temperature. Friends have told me that a George Foreman grill also works.

Enjoying!

Grilled Sandwich With Apple, Ham, Cheddar On Sourdough

Yield: 4 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

8 (1/4-inch thick) slices of sourdough bread

1/4 pound ham, cut into 4 slices (or buy pre-sliced ​​ham)

1 small green apple (about 5 ounces), such as Granny Smith, sliced ​​1/8-inch thick

6 ounces medium or sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Chef’s Notes: Werlin prefers to grate cheese instead of slicing it, because it melts faster, she thinks.

PROCEDURE

1. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on a work surface, buttered side down. Place a slice of ham on each slice of bread, folding it to size if necessary. Top with 4 to 5 apple slices per sandwich, followed by cheese. Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top, buttered side up. If the sandwich seems quite thick, press it down to slightly compress the ingredients.

2. To cook with the sandwich maker, heat the sandwich maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To cook using the stovetop method, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place sandwiches in skillet (in batches if needed), cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and cheese begins to melt. Uncover and turn with a spatula, pressing down firmly to flatten slightly. Cook for 1 minute or until the underside is golden brown. Turn the sandwiches over again, press with a spatula and cook for 30 seconds, or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately.

Source: “Great Grilled Cheese” by Laura Werlin (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $16.95)

Grilled Mediterranean two-cheese sandwiches should ideally be made with pain au levain, which is tangy and slightly more compact than conventional sourdough. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Grilled Mediterranean sandwiches with two cheeses

Yield: 4 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon drained capers, rinsed

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, colored part only

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices of pain au levain or sourdough bread; see note from the cook

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, or Emmentaler or Monterey Jack, coarsely grated

4 whole roasted red peppers (jarred or home roasted), peeled, seeded, drained, halved

1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

Chef’s Note: Pain au levain is made with a sourdough starter. It is spicy and slightly denser than conventional sourdough.

PROCEDURE

1. In a small bowl, combine feta, olives, capers, lemon zest and pepper; put aside.

2. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on a work surface, buttered side down. Divide the feta mixture evenly among 4 slices. For each sandwich, press Gruyere into the feta mixture and top with half of the bell pepper; top that with spinach. Press again. Spread each with bread, buttered side up.

3. To cook with the sandwich maker, heat the sandwich maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To cook with the boil method, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place sandwiches in skillet (in batches if needed), cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and cheese begins to melt. Uncover and turn with a spatula, pressing very firmly to flatten slightly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown and the spinach has wilted. Turn the sandwiches again, press with a spatula and cook for 30 seconds, or until the cheese melts completely. Serve immediately.

Source: “Great Grilled Cheese” by Laura Werlin (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $16.95)

Grilled Cheese with Marinated Onions and Whole Wheat Mustard is made with thinly sliced ​​Gruyere cheese. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Grilled Cheese With Marinated Onions And Whole Wheat Mustard

Yield: 4 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

Marinated onions:

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more if needed

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 medium yellow onions, halved top to bottom, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices

sandwiches:

8 white or whole wheat sourdough bread; see chef’s notes

Butter, room temperature for greasing

1/4 cup whole grain mustard

8 ounces Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced, about 1/16-inch thick

Optional: 4 thin slices of ham

Chef’s Notes: I often use Trader Joe’s Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread for sandwiches. The middle slices are very long and when using the middle part I cut the sandwich in half after the cooking time. I think each half equals one sandwich. I consider the smaller slices to be the ingredients for a single sandwich.

PROCEDURE

1. Marinated Onions: Combine vinegar and salt in a medium non-reactive bowl, such as glass or ceramic; stir to combine and dissolve salt. Stir in the olive oil and pepper. Add onion slices and toss, covering all onion slices. Let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Taste and season, adding a little more vinegar or salt if necessary.

2. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on a work surface, buttered side down. Spread an even layer of mustard on the bread and cover with half of the cheese slices, folding them back towards the center if they extend past the edges of the bread. Sprinkle with marinated onions, using tongs, so excess marinade remains in the bowl. Cover with the remaining cheese in a single layer. If using, top with ham. Spread each with bread, buttered side up and press down gently with one hand.

3. To cook with the sandwich maker, heat the sandwich maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To cook with the boil method, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place sandwiches in skillet (in batches if needed), cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and cheese begins to melt. Uncover and turn with a spatula, pressing very firmly to flatten slightly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown and the spinach has wilted. Turn the sandwiches again, press with a spatula and cook for 30 seconds, or until the cheese melts completely. Serve immediately.

Grilled Brie Sandwiches With Apricot Jam

Yield: 4 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

1 baguette, preferably not sourdough, 1 cm cut off at each end

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons apricot jam

6 ounces Brie cheese, rinds removed, cut into 12 slices; see note from the cook

Chef’s Note: It is easiest to remove the rind from cheese when it is very cold. Bring cheese to room temperature before grilling.

PROCEDURE

1. Cut baguette into 4 pieces; cut each piece in half lengthwise to make 8 pieces (each about 5 inches long). Pull out part of the center of each piece to create troughs.

2. Brush the outside of each piece of bread with melted butter. Place 4 pieces on the work surface, buttered side down. Divide the jam evenly among 4 pieces and divide the cheese over the jam. Place the remaining 4 baguettes on top, buttered side up.

3. To cook with the sandwich maker, heat the sandwich maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To cook with the boil method, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place sandwiches in skillet (in batches if needed), cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and cheese begins to melt. Uncover and turn with a spatula, pressing very firmly to flatten them slightly. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown in places. (The shape of the baguette prevents it from browning evenly.) Turn the buns again, press with a spatula and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese melts completely. Serve immediately.

Source: “Great Grilled Cheese” by Laura Werlin (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $16.95)

Cooking question? Please contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]