Since starting the Grilled Cheese Invitationalback in 2003, as the Founder and Chief Instigator I’ve seen every sort of grilled cheese sandwich and am always impressed with the creativity and deliciousness that a champion grilled cheese can bring to the table.
From humble beginnings as a cooking contest amongst friends to a national phenomenon with over 250 competitors and an army of grilled cheese lovers 10,000 strong, the Grilled Cheese Invitational is the perfect venue for everyday folks to put their signature twist on this staple sandwich.
For this year’s National Grilled Cheese month, I’m offering up some great examples of award winning grilled cheese in the four categories of competition. Look for them each Thursday on the Tillamook Loaf Life blog.
The first recipe is one for our new-for-2011 category: Love, American Style. As with all noble human pursuits, a perfect grilled cheese must first begin with love.
The Love category is for the classic American grilled cheese: White bread, orange cheese and butter. No other cheeses, colors or ingredients. Since a competitor is only going to win this category with grilling style, it’s important to make your sandwich stand out.
We haven’t had an official winner in this category yet so I’m offering my take on a Love, American Style sandwich called “The Love Moat.”
Slightly sweet and soft, potato bread contrasts well with a nice sharp cheddar and is the perfect vehicle to absorb butter. The bread browns nicely and provides a crisp but not too rugged crust and stays soft on the inside…for the win!
1. Assemble the sandwich, distributing the cheese evenly on the bread.
2. Add one tablespoon of butter to a skillet on low-medium heat. Let the butter melt evenly and then place the sandwich in the pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
3. Here’s my secret: In order to grill the other side, take the sandwich out of the pan and remove the pan from the heat, letting the pan cool down a little before putting the second tablespoon of butter in the pan. This’ll keep the butter from scorching.
4. Return the pan to the heat, add the butter and melt like in step 2, then place the sandwich back in to grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes, until you have a nice and even brown. Remove the sandwich from the pan.
5. Here’s the win: Cut the sandwich in half and before you serve it, hold the halves above the plate and let some of the melted cheese ooze out of the sandwich so that it pools a little on the plate to create a molten, cheesy moat of cheddar!
Serve immediately and enjoy!