chef’s ultimate grilled cheese sandwich

DSC04393 What’s your favorite foodie movie scene? My current favorite is Chef. I love the scene where Jon Favreau’s character Carl Caspar is making a grilled cheese sandwich to share with his son Percy. Watch the YouTube video here. Here is what I think he did.

First, he sprinkles olive oil on a countertop griddle. I believe the setting to be about medium to medium high, because any higher and the bread will toast too quickly. Then he butters two slices of farmer’s bread. He places the two slices buttered side down on the griddle with the oil. He¬† fries the bread on one side only, moving the slices around on the griddle, smearing butter and oil into an aromatic sauce that sizzles.

Then Favreau tops the un-fried bread sides with thin slices of cheese–looks like a fair amount of Cheddar and Gruyere topped with a couple of slivers of Parmegiano Reggiano. When the cheese looks a bit melty, he stacks the two halves, cheese sides together Finally, he spreads a bit of butter on the edges of the fried side of bread to make it evenly brown and crusty. Flips it over and butters the other side. When both sides are golden, when the cheese oozes out, it’s done. Slice. Share with Percy. Eat. Crunchy. Yummy.

After I watched¬†Chef, I tried to replicate it myself–with some of my own touches. I used a much thicker slice of bread than was used in the movie. My cheese slices were thicker too. Gruyere is prohibitively expensive in Bangkok so I substituted Emmentaler. Instead of the Parmegiano, I added the red pepper cheese for a bit of bite. I ended up with a meal. It was filling, salty, gooey, tangy, and so delicious. The ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.

Note, July 12, 2015: I’ve since learned that it was mayonnaise, not butter that was used to spread on the bread before grilling.

grilled cheese sandwich night

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The guys are hanging out in front of the TV tonight. It’s the NBA Finals, Heat vs. Spurs. So I made a light quick dinner around two kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches. I call this one

Grilled Cheddar Jalapeno Tomato Sandwich

Prep time: 5 minutes
Grill time: 4 minutes per sandwich
Servings: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients
4 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices tomato
8 slivers jalapeno pepper

Butter or cooking spray, optional

Preparation

On one slice of bread place a slice of cheddar cheese. Top with 2 slices tomato and 4 slivers of jalapeno pepper. Cover with another slice of cheddar cheese. Put the second slice of bread on top.

Cook’s Note: If you wish, butter the bread before toasting. You can use cooking spray instead of butter.

Toast in a griddle pan over medium-high heat, pressing down lightly once or twice before flipping, about 2 minutes. Repeat on the second side. Make the second sandwich just like the first!

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Grilled sandwich #2. This one is sweet and salty, and is called

Grilled Ham Swiss Cheese and Pear Sandwich

Prep time: 5 minutes
Grill time: 4 minutes per sandwich
Servings: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients
4 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices Swiss Cheese (can use another white cheese such as Emmentaler or Mozzarella)
4 slices pear
2 thin slices ham
Butter or cooking spray, optional

Preparation
On top of a slice of bread, place 1 slice cheese, 2 slices pear and 1 slice ham. Top with another slice cheese and the second slice of bread. Repeat steps to make another sandwich.

Cook’s Note: Slice the whole pear thinly. No need to peel it. Just trim the top and bottom so that the pear is flat. Now, cut the pear in half from pole to pole then use a mandoline to slice one half pear into thin uniform slices.

In a griddle pan, toast the sandwiches over medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side. If you wish you can butter the sides of the bread before toasting. Or use cooking spray. Slice and eat!