A Whole New Grilled Cheese

salads-016I love reading food magazines, and whenever I travel, I am always sure to have a few in my carry-on bag to flip through in the air.  On my most recent trip, I picked up a copy of one of my favorite periodicals, Saveur.  Each of the articles were of interest, but one in particular caught my eye.  It was about grilled cheese.  Yes, grilled cheese….the simple sandwich most of us grew up eating, and still eat when we have a few extra minutes to actually make one.  What struck me was that here was one of the most respected food magazines in the industry devoting space to a sandwich so simple even a child could make it.  That is like a restaurant being devoted entirely to peanut butter and jelly (oh wait, there IS a restaurant like that!).  The surprise?  It was a great article and within hours of returning home, I was making grilled cheese.

The author writes about her discovery of Comte cheese, a French cheese made from raw cow’s milk.  According to The Food Lover’s Companion, Comte is France’s most popular cheese.  The production of Comte is strictly controlled, and must be aged a minimum of 4 months.  Any Comte which doesn’t earn enough points on the scale is sold as Gruyere.  The flavor is mild and intensely buttery.  The texture is a medium-hard consistency, but turns pillowy soft and wonderfully “oozy” when heated between two slices of buttered bread (the author favors sourdough).  I found that it takes longer to melt than other cheeses traditionally used for grilled cheese (like cheddar or American), but it is SO worth the wait.   Just turn down that burner and take it slow!

Before reading this article, I’d never tried Comte, and wondered if it was a cheese only found at specialty shops.  I headed to my local Trader Joe’s (which I’ve found to be the best place to buy great cheese at very reasonable prices) and spoke to their cheese guru, Barbara.  Sure enough, they carried Comte (how did I not notice this before?), so I snapped up a block along with some good, crusty bread and sped home.  

Do yourself a favor and do the same!  Thanks to Saveur for sophisticating grilled cheese!

 Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices crusty bread (whole wheat, Tuscan style, or sourdough)

Comte cheese (enough slices to cover two slices of bread!)

Butter or butter substitute (I like Earth Balance)

Butter one side of each slice of bread.

Place 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.

Top the bread slices with cheese slices, and top with the remaining two slices of bread (this time, buttered side UP).

Heat slowly until bread has begun to  gently brown and cheese begins to melt (around 3-4 minutes). 

Carefully flip sandwich over, and brown on second side.  Cheese should be completely melted. 

Cut sandwiches in half and enjoy hot.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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One Response to “A Whole New Grilled Cheese”

  1. helpInaHandbag Says:

    Yum, Yum, Yummy….can’t wait to try this one!

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