If you aren’t dieting, the cold, crisp days of January are the perfect time of year to enjoy one of my favorite childhood lunch combinations: cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese. Although I’ve developed many recipes for tomato soup over the years, I’m always content with Campbell’s condensed cream of tomato soup (in fact, the Soup-at-Hand version of that soup is always on reserve in my office in case of soup-related emergencies). I’m more particular about grilled cheese sandwiches though.
My grilled cheese doesn’t have to be fancy but it must be made with real Cheddar and real butter and the bread, if white, has to be crusty and fresh. That said, I usually use whole grain sandwich bread at lunchtime. By the way, A is today’s mystery letter but let’s get back to grilled cheese, shall we? Over the holidays, I sliced a baguette into thin disks and made appetizer-sized grilled cheeses for the kids who attended our Christmas Eve soiree and these two-bite sandwiches were a hit with kids of all ages!
When making a grilled cheese sandwich, please remember that slow and easy wins the race; you can’t rush a good grilled cheese. My preferred method is to keep the heat under a heavy bottomed skillet medium so that the inside of the sandwich becomes molten and the outside doesn’t go beyond golden. If using a panini press, leave a cheese-free border around the edge so that the melted cheese doesn’t ooze out and burn.
I’ve made grilled cheese sandwiches with sliced cheese and with shredded. You can get good results with either but I’ve found that for most home cooks, it’s easier to shred the cheese than to slice it evenly.
Although I always dip my grilled cheese sandwich in ketchup (the soup isn’t tangy enough for me), I can acknowledge that there are other good condiment options such as sun dried tomato pesto, branston pickle and Bengal chutney that can be spread right inside the sandwich before grilling to make a very tasty lunch!