If you’re valiantly counting calories, you might want to skip this page.
All this talk about gobs of gooey cheese and other delectable morsels tucked in between slices of crisp, lavishly buttered pan bread will only drive you to the nearest eatery for its version of this sinful sandwich.
Still here? You’re not to blame because grilled cheese “is something everyone can relate to,” says Scott Cowan, kitchen manager of Delux Burger Bar.
Yet, the cheeses in Delux’s sandwich are not what you would expect. Its grown-up version melts savoury tomato-basil Havarti with provolone and fresh tomato. “We try to take it over the top,” says Cowan. Mission accomplished.
Certainly, many chefs are striving to elevate the grilled cheese and sometimes it goes straight into orbit. Corso 32 chef and owner Daniel Costa’s version is an appetizer with boschetto al tartufo – cheese made with cow and sheep milk, and laden with truffles – along with charred spring onion and crowned with a golden egg served sunny-side up.
Back on Earth, from the depths of the ocean, comes the lobster grilled cheese at Joey Jasper Ave., oozing with brie, mozzarella and cheddar, laced with green onion and tarragon, and served with cocktail sauce in lieu of ketchup. “It’s not a heavy sandwich, but it’s rich … The house salad definitely lightens it up,” says sous chef Connor Scruggs with a laugh.
Nathan McLaughlin of the Next Act Pub says his grilled cheese is so popular “we can’t take it off the menu.” Two slices of swirled double-marble rye stuffed with Swiss, cheddar, sliced apples (for crunch) and bacon – it will make your knees melt, too.
But sometimes you simply crave a grilled cheese like Mom used to make. Luckily, Mill Creek Cafe’s comes close, and with daily fresh-baked bread. “I don’t even have a commercial stove,” says owner Isabelle Soh. “It’s literally home cooking.”
Think it’s as simple as cheese, bread and butter? You’d be surprised what goes into the very best grilled cheese sandwiches. We asked four pros for tips on making the perfect one at home. Follow these golden rules for the crispiest, gooiest, tastiest, most soul-satisfying sandwich.
“Make sure your pan is hot because otherwise the bread just soaks up the oil; it gets soggy and it doesn’t get that nice brown colour that we like.” – Laura Marchildon, line cook and kitchen manager, Mill Creek Cafe
“Real butter. Definitely use real butter, and thick cheese. I wouldn’t grate it; I’d just make it nice and thick. That’s what we do; we just put it on the flat top [or frying pan] and then we’ll put it in the oven at the end to make sure all the cheese gets melted.” – Nathan McLaughlin, chef, the Next Act Pub
“It sounds really simple, but salt and pepper. A lot of people forget to season. Salt and pepper should be on everything. People try to make things super complicated and dress it up, but they forget how good something simple can really be.” – Scott Cowan, kitchen manager, Delux Burger Bar
“I think you need at least two types of cheeses. We use three.” – Connor Scruggs, sous chef, Joey Jasper Ave
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