Make no mistake, love of baseball is one of the true pillars of our family (and yes that includes Carolyn, and yes she knows way more about baseball than most men, and yes that includes fans, and yes I am a very lucky man). But it is football season, and while we wait for pitchers and catchers to report we get to enjoy the 49ers run towards a title (we hope). The boys and I watch the games together and even rope Carolyn in for the 4th quarter, and we do try to cook “tailgate-y” stuff most Sundays. But as the Super (Stupor?) Bowl is coming (I hear the NFL may whack us for using their trademark, so we add some satire for legal cover) we are working on a few snacks that we can serve on the big day.
We will share a few new recipes and update a few old ones, but we will start with this simple, but fun take on grilled cheese sandwiches. We found the recipe for Grilled Cheese Pull-Aparts at the Creamline, a food blog we like and follow (worth a look). The Creamline thought of the recipe as a snack for little kids, but since a bunch of men watching football are just about the same thing (intellectually), we figured we could easily tune the recipe for “adult” entertaining. And it turns out we were right. This recipe will not blow anyone away, but it is easy to make, easy to play with, tastes great (it is grilled cheese, after all) and is good fun.
So what is the big deal here? Basically you get a sheet of 12 of sweet rolls, some areas have King Hawaiian rolls, some have potato rolls, some Parker House rolls. (Look at the photos, you will see what we mean.) You cut them in half, flip them over, so the “rough” side is out, butter and lightly salt the exterior, put a bunch of good cheese and other stuff in between the layers and grill the sandwich. Serve it when the cheese melts and then “pull-apart” the sections. Watch the melted cheese do its thing. Eat. Repeat. Smile.
So what should you put in the sandwich? We use a few different cheeses, usually Cheddar and Gruyère, perhaps Fontina, a bit of bacon, maybe pickles or tomatoes, even a touch of mustard. But this recipe really let’s you do what you want. Left over steak or pulled pork? Perfect? Ham? Excellent. Chutney with cheddar cheese? Sophisticated, but very tasty. You get the idea. Hard to screw this up.
As for technique (and there is technique in making grilled cheese), the main thing here is to take your time. Use medium-low heat and let the exterior brown while the interior melts. If the pan is too hot the exterior will be done before the center melts. It also helps to weight the sandwich while grilling, we have a sandwich weight, but a heavy pan works fine. And finally, if you don’t have a griddle, just grill the bread in 6-part sections in skillet. No big deal, it just means you can snack on the first batch while you make the next…
(Adapted from the Creamline)
Notes Before You Start:
- Go Niners!
What You Get: A fun take on grilled cheese that will please a crowd.
What You Need: Fancy stuff like griddle pans and sandwich weights are nice, but all you need is a skillet.
How Long? About 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of active time. You need to cook these low and slow, but it still doesn’t take that long. Anytime dish.
(Serves 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as an appetizer)
- 1, 12-piece sheet of soft rolls (like King Hawaiian or Parker House)
- Butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups of grated (or thinly sliced) soft or semi-soft cheese (like Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyère)
- Your choice of meats, veggies or condiments
- Using a long serrated knife, cut the sheet of rolls lengthwise and flip over so the “smooth” side is up. Place the 2 sheets on a baking pan.
- Grate your cheese and evenly spread the cheese on one sheet, add any other toppings. Place the top sheet on the bottom sheet. Liberally butter one side and add a light sprinkle of salt. Gently flip the sandwich and butter and salt the other side.
- Place a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Place the sandwich on the griddle. Weight it down with a sandwich weight or heavy pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 6-8 minutes, or until the outside is golden brown and crispy and the cheese melts. Serve.
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