Grilled Cheese with a difference
For me, grilled cheese brings to mind the version my mother made: slices of American cheese over one piece of white bread (sometimes topped with a slice of tomato) and broiled or toaster-oven toasted until the cheese melted and bubbled on top.
But grilled cheese is one of those dishes that defies definition. Although almost everyone’s mother I knew back in my childhood days made the sandwich with American cheese and white bread (except that, unlike my mom, they used two slices of bread and fried the sandwich instead of toasting it), that wasn’t the case for all households.
Some moms used actual, real cheese, not processed American. Like my friend Lynne’s mother, who made it with Swiss cheese, which I hated, but this woman was so strict and glared at us so sternly that I ate every bit of that sandwich when I was at her house. To this day I can see Mrs. Remer standing there, arms folded over a well-endowed chest and willing us to finish.
When I was much older I realized that grilled cheese might be a kid favorite (at least when it had American cheese or, at worst, cheddar), but it continues to endure all through adulthood. It does in our house. Ed and I eat grilled cheese for dinner occasionally, or for a Sunday late breakfast, lunch or early dinner.
I use all sorts of meltable cheeses (even Swiss) and types of bread and add other ingredients for variety. Like fruit or jam. One time we wanted something more substantial, so I made this version:
Grilled Cheese, Egg and Avocado Panini
2 teaspoons butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 slices homestyle white or multigrain bread
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, optional
3-4 ounces cheddar, sliced
4-6 tomato slices
1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Melt the 2 teaspoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Crack the eggs and place them in the pan. Cook until the whites are set and barely crispy. Flip the eggs and cook for 30-45 seconds. Dish out and set aside. Spread equal amounts of mayonnaise on each of two slices of bread (mix the mayonnaise with basil if desired). Top with equal amounts of cheese, tomato and avocado slices. Add one egg on top of each sandwich. Cover with second piece of bread. Melt half the remaining tablespoon of butter in the sauté pan over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan. Place another, heavier pan on top. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the heavier pan, lift the sandwiches with a spatula and add the remaining butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, turn the sandwiches on the uncooked side, weight down with the heavier pan and cook for another minute or so or until second side is golden brown. Makes 2 sandwiches