Grilled cheese, please

I was all  ready to post about our Easter festivities, a strange conversation I had at a funeral recently, or my  latest revamped lamp project that I’m working on, but when I heard today is National Grilled Cheese Day it all went out the window. The ooey-gooey goodness of a warm grilled cheese sandwich has comforted me on chilly days and filled me up on nights when I was just too lazy to make a real meal for myself. It has been a staple for me throughout my life–loving it as a young child, a cheap eat as a poor college student, and now serving it up as a quick meal for the kids after a day at the pool.  I’ve decided to pay homage to the simplistic sandwich of my youth by posting a classic recipe that proves grilled cheese’s aren’t just for kids. And no worries Houston-area folks, if cooking isn’t your thing you can still celebrate the day by savoring the delectable grilled cheese at Max’s Wine Dive. It is divine, and I never use that word. Promise you won’t regret it.

Classic Grilled Cheese

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick pan over very low heat. Butter 2 slices of sturdy bread. Lay 1 slice buttered-side down in the pan and layer with cheese before topping with the second slice. Cover and cook on low  heat for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to check the bottom of the bread and flip when golden brown. Turn the heat to medium and grill until golden and the cheese melts. For a more gourmet sandwich, use sourdough bread covered with mayo or horseradish and add crumbled bacon, ham, turkey or pancetta to the cheese, then top with more cheese. Add well-drained tomato slices, grilled squash, zucchini, onions, and green or red peppers for a veggie-filled grilled cheese.

Tips for making the perfect grilled cheese, according to The Nibble and Serious Eats:

  • shred or grate the cheese for faster melting
  • the better the cheese, the better the sandwich–use aged Gouda or real English cheddar
  • use real butter on the outside of the bread and in the pan
  • use a non-stick pan, not cast iron
  • party idea–slice sandwiches into mini-squares and serve alongside shots of tomato soup as appetizers
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