One of those friends is a self-confessed cheese addict. (Yes, she has met Avery and loves her books!) So when she emailed me a picture of Grown-Up Grilled Cheese in Cook's latest magazine, I took the hint.
As usual in Cook's, the author examined the issues with grilled cheese sandwiches, focusing on what my friend referred to as the typical greasiness of grilled cheese. The author found the solution was to use a cheddar that is aged less than one year and mix it with a tiny bit of a softer cheese like a Brie. Add shallots and vermouth and the flavor kicks up to a truly delicious adult version of the standard grilled cheese sandwich.
Interestingly, he zapped the ingredients together with a food processor, which made for a nice, even distribution of the flavors. Our favorite part was the mustard butter that he used. It was so good that I'll be making that for other dishes as well. And it couldn't have been easier.
The only place that I departed from the Cook's recipe was in using my panini maker. While the Cook's recipe uses a nonstick skillet, I was thrilled to use my panini machine, which turned out beautiful sandwiches in minutes.
We made extras and discovered that they warmed nicely in the oven the next day at 400. Next time, Asiago and Brie!
Cook's Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
(from Cook's Illustrated, September and October 2013)
7 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
2 ounces Brie
2 tablespooons dry white wine or vermouth
4 teaspoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices hearty white sandwich bread
Place the cheddar and Brie on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 30 seconds. Place the cheeses and wine in a food processor and pulse into a smooth paste. Add the shallots and pulse again 3 to 5 times.
In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the butter and mustard until thoroughly combined.
Tear off a sheet of parchment paper long enough to hold four slices of bread. Line up the bread in sets of two.
Dividing the butter mixture equally, spread it over one side of each of the eight slices. Flip over the slices on the bottom row. Spread the cheese mixture over those slices. Top with the slices from the upper row, butter side out.
Grill in a panini machine. Or -- preheat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until drops of water sizzle in it. Place the sandwiches in it two at a time, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until golden brown, flipping once (about 6-9 minutes per side). Let stand for 2 minutes before serving.