The perfect food for quarantine when you’ve made your way through all the pot roast, mashed potatoes garlic bread and salad in your kitchen… the grilled cheese! Really one of the most versatile sandwiches in cuisine. When Sookie throws it in to her feast last minute for Jess, you know it has to be more than some wonder bread with kraft singles (but really – what’s the problem with that?).
I envision Sookie’s method being akin to: GRILLED CHEESE – but make it fashion. Because what else would you expect a gourmet chef to do?
I had a lot of freedom here outside of Jackson saying, “I’ll start slicing the cheese.” So I set out to make one of the fanciest grilled cheeses I’ve ever made.
I started with making some crusty cottage bread from scratch. (Yeah, THAT fancy) I polled my Instagram followers to find what some of their favorite grilled cheese toppings (or err, fillings?) were to try to get some innovation brewing. Honestly, I was a bit blown away by some of these answers: provolone, grilled tomatoes, green apples with mozzarella …all the way to tuna and pineapple(???!!) but hey, I am a big believer in not knocking it till you try it. The overwhelming cheese of choice, however, was Muenster, so I decided to go with a three cheese approach: double cheddar (white and sharp) and deli-sliced Muenster.
In all my research of what “elevates” a grilled cheese (without totally turning it into a whole new sandwich) I learned a hack that has changed my grilled cheese eating forever… MAYONNAISE! That’s right. Experts (including the great Claire Savitz and Ree Drummond, aka: the Pioneer Woman) say that spreading mayo on the outsides of the bread instead of butter results in a more flavorful sandwich. Not that I have anywhere near the the same credibility of these ladies, but I can also attest that they are 100% right. Even if you are a firm mayonnaise hater such as my husband, the end result hardly resembles the taste and merely adopts its moist tanginess and leaves an even crispier crunch to the bread. Perfection.
OKAY – I really didn’t expect to have this much to say about a grilled cheese. I guess that’s how you know it’s good. Without further adieu, I give you, grilled three cheese:
Crusty Cottage from Cardstock Addict
(recipe is halved for one loaf
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or artisan flour (measure using scoop and sweep method)
The easiest artisan bread ever! Combine the warm water, yeast and salt in a stand mixer and let sit for at least 5 minutes, or until dissolved and foamy. Add in the flour and knead with the bread hook attachment until combined. The dough will look rough. Cover your bowl tightly with plastic wrap. I use an elastic band around the top to keep the wrap secure. Poke a tiny pin hole in the top of the plastic and set the dough aside to rise for 2 hours.
You can choose to form the loaf at this point, or refrigerate until chilled to make the dough easier to work with. It will be extremely sticky. Place the dough on a floured piece of parchment paper and “form it into a ball by tucking the sides of the dough under the ball” to make a round loaf. Let it rest for another 40-90 minutes, depending on how you want the interior to be structured. The more time = more holes.
During this resting period preheat your oven to 425 with a Dutch oven inside. After the dough has rested, lightly coat flour on the loaf and score with a sharp knife or razor. Bake for 30-40 minutes until deep brown. Let cool completely before slicing. I highly recommend Cardstock Addict’s step by step guide if making this for the first time. It will change your life!
Grilled Three Cheese
Sliced Crusty Bread
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, sliced
White Cheddar Cheese, sliced
Muenster Cheese, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Spread mayo on the outside sides of your crusty bread. Fill the middle with the three cheeses to your personal tastes. Pile it high! Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Grill each side in the skillet until golden brown and crispy. Cheese should be oozing. Enjoy!