Eat Local

How Chefs Do Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


national food holidayWe recently took a quick survey of several random Eat Jackson readers to find out the first words or phrases that came to their minds when we mentioned these three words: Grilled. Cheese. Sandwich.

Eat Jackson Reader Feedback on Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Here are some responses: “Yummy,” “Ooey gooey flavor party,” “Melted cheeeese… MMM!,” “Comfort food,” “Reminds me of sitting at my mama’s table,” “Gooey and stringy,” “Camp! I’ve never had a better grilled cheese,” “Soft gooey center and a crunchy exterior…”

We’d have to agree with all of those! Not only are Grilled Cheese Sandwiches amazingly and simply delicious and gooey, but they also invoke a sense of nostalgia that few other foods have the ability to bring forth.

When we heard that April was National Grilled Cheese Month, naturally we could not wait to do a story on this celebrated sandwich!

We asked a few of our local chefs how they like to amp up the ol’ “two-pieces-of-white-bread-and-a-piece-of-cheese” Grilled Cheese Sandwich standard.

We got some great responses!

Chef Feedback on Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Grilled Cheese with tomato... Several chefs suggested adding this red veggie to the mix!

Grilled Cheese with tomato... Several chefs suggested adding this red veggie to the mix!

Derek George from CHAR Restaurant in Jackson says, “I love to use a great aged sharp cheddar cheese with fresh tomato on wheatberry bread. I apply the butter to the bread so that maximum toasty is achieved. Some classics are best left simple!”

Dan Blumenthal from BRAVO! Italian Restaurant and Bar suggests mixing it up with truffle oil…

Chef Blumenthal says, ”Try brushing the bread with white truffle oil instead of butter! It’s mostly an aroma/flavor thing. The texture of finished product is the same as butter or some other oil, but the aroma and flavor is otherworldly–redolent of that earthy garlic aroma only truffles can bring.”

Steve D’Angelo from Nick’s! Restaurant in Fondren tells us about “The Madison.”

Chef D’Angelo says, “Use ciabatta, havarti, thin slices of tomato, fresh basil, and white truffle oil! Toast it in a skillet with a little butter and a little olive oil mix. Press it kinda thin like a panini. Now drizzle a little bit of white truffle oil (I saw some at Kroger) and smell the love, oh baby!! I call that one “The Madison” after my oldest daughter — it’s her favorite!!!”

Jeremy Enfinger, one of our most favorite Viking Cooking School instructors, says, “I love taking a nice boulet (which is a homemade Sourdough bread) and cutting it down to slices. Cause you can’t make grilled cheese on anything other than white bread. I also like to spread light mayo on my bread before adding cheese. The cheeses are endless. Manchego. Munster. Colby. Aged cheddar. However, in my opinion, cheddar is better. Nice thick overlapping slices. Then I butter the pan and slowly cook on one side till almost burnt. Then I add more butter to my pan and repeat for other side. Magic.”

Does it get any better?

Does it get any better?

Nick Wallace, the man behind the great food at King Edward Grill downtown, chimes in on the topic. “I think you need a good Panini press, aged Gruyere cheese, aged Cheddar, caramelized onions, white grain mustard, and Jewish rye or rye bread. Serve the sandwich with champagne pickled onions & pickles. Don’t forget some fresh unsalted butter before you press, and press until a deep crust is formed. Don’t worry if it gets a little dark… You will have an awesome grilled cheese sandwich!”

Corey Ellison from Underground 119 tells us about how they make the perfect Grilled Cheese in their kitchen! “Underground 119’s Rejebian’s Grilled Cheese, named for the co-author of the political insider book We’re With Nobody, features thin-sliced prosciutto and Pepper jack cheese on two pieces of French bread. The sandwiches are topped with pimento stuffed olives on a cocktail sword. Served with our hand cut sweet potato fries, they are the perfect finger food for any late night blues fan.”

All of these descriptions and tricks have us longing for a hot, melty Grilled Cheese Sandwich!! From uncomplicated to complex, there’s no denying that Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are just plain GOOD.

The last comment we got from our random survey says it all… “Did you say Grilled Cheese? I’ll take two, please!”

How do YOU make your Grilled Cheese Sandwiches better than average? Let us hear from you! You never know, it may win ya’ something!