We have nothing against the grilled cheese sandwich your momma used to make (or the ones you make for your kids).
But, with just a few tweaks, this sandwich can go, well, almost gourmet.
First, focus on the cheese. This recipe mixes aged cheddar with a small amount of brie and some wine in a food processor. Those two ingredients helped the cheddar melt evenly without becoming greasy.
A little bit of shallot increases the complexity without detracting from the cheese, and a smear of mustard-butter on the bread adds a sharp bite.
Look for a cheddar aged for about one year (avoid cheddar aged for longer; it won't melt well). To bring the cheddar to room temperature quickly, microwave the pieces until warm, about 30 seconds.
Grilled Cheese with Cheddar and Shallot
Makes 4 servings.
7 ounces aged cheddar cheese, cut into 24 equal pieces, room temperature
2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed
2 tablespoons dry white wine or dry vermouth
4 teaspoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices hearty white sandwich bread
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 F. Process cheddar, Brie and wine in food processor until smooth paste forms, 20 to 30 seconds. Add shallot and pulse to combine, 3 to 5 pulses; transfer to bowl. In separate bowl, combine butter and mustard.
2. Brush butter-mustard mixture evenly over 1 side of each slice of bread. Flip 4 slices over and spread cheese mixture evenly over second side. Top with remaining 4 slices bread, buttered side up, and press down gently.
3. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Place 2 sandwiches in skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until both sides are crisp and golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes per side.
4. Transfer sandwiches to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and cook remaining 2 sandwiches. Serve.