When diving into the world of grilled cheese sandwiches, having a slice of swiss between two buttered pieces of white bread is just never enough. In fact, it’s heresy. There are so many options of cheeses, breads and meats available, and with the right choices, simplicity can still be preserved whilst creating a unique and memorable taste for your buds to enjoy.
I’ve been called pretentious and wanky for insisting that a grilled cheese should be called by its proper name; a croque monsieur, and I refuse to refer to it otherwise. But it’s my firm philosophy that when adding some fancy cheeses, cold cuts and spices to the mix, the name of your sandwich should be boujee.
Whilst on my journey across the web, I came across several different versions of the comfort food, all with different perspectives around what is considered to be the perfect taste. Some call for a mixture of onions, spices, meats and fancy butters, whilst others call for a simple mix of cheeses and sourdough bread. Some even call for the addition of fruits, like Granny Smith apples or pimento to add a new and unique taste to your snack.
I’ve got the recipe down to three key focuses; and if all are addressed, you’ve got yourself one hell of a meal ahead.
Cheese – You didn’t think this would be important?
Here lies the biggest challenge of making a good croque monsieur. For a decent grilled cheese sandwich, the cheese should be the main focus. Across many different recipes, there are several different styles of cheese to consider. Culinary figures, such as Matty Matheson, call for a mixture of fancy Ontario Cheddar and the not-so-fancy processed slices you had during primary school lunches, whilst others simply call for a mix of cheddar, swiss and parmesan; the things you’d normally find in your pantry. Overall, just choose two or three cheeses that you like best, and grate them all into a bowl. Boom.
Bread – What else is supposed to keep this s**t together?
To keep it all together and to give it that signature crunch, a decent style of bread is highly necessary to keep all that gooey liquid gold together. There is constant battle between the two main styles of choice; a signature crunchy sourdough or a soft and floury rustic white bread. It all comes down to the individual opinion, but ultimately, it’s the sourdough that comes out on top. If you’re going to go boujee on the cheese, why not go boujee on the bread? Final note too; diagonal slices always taste better.
Condiments – Why not make this thing a bit more interesting?
To finalise that wonderful taste, you’re going to need some nice accompaniments to go with your sandwich. Some use onions, pickles, tomatoes and fancy relishes, others call for a simple touch of mayonnaise or a delicious rustic mustard. The common consensus seems to be that mayonnaise is necessary for a good taste, but that’s just something I tend to enjoy.
After my rigorous studies of this very important artform, I believe that I’ve come up with the perfect recipe for the most delicious croque monsieur you’ll ever have.
It’s a Mozza-hella Good Sandwich – Serves 2 (Or 1 if you’re like me)
- 4 slices of thick sourdough bread
- 25 grams each grated Parmesan, Gouda, Gruyere, Mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- cracked pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- plenty of butter
- tomato relish / your favourite hot sauce
- Grate all of your cheeses into a bowl, and blend together with onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. Season with cracked pepper to taste.
- Using a grill and plenty of butter, cook one side of your bread slices. Leave the other side uncooked. After one side of each piece is cooked, remove from heat.
- On the cooked sides of the bread, spread one piece with the mayonnaise and the other with the mustard.
- Top the spreaded side of the bread with your cheese/spice blend, and close the sandwich with the other slice, leaving the condiments facing inwards, and the uncooked side of the bread facing outwards.
- Butter the grill, and bring to a moderate heat. Once hot, place your sandwich onto the grill, and ensure that the butter covers the slice. Cook for four minutes on each side, flipping to check that both sides are cooked well.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and slice diagonally. Serve with your favourite chutney, relish or hot sauce.
Words by Chris Graham