Do you ever have those days when dinner is the farthest thing from your mind and yet there are expectant mouths? When you would happily resort to Netflix and a bowl of cereal but others are not into breakfast for dinner? I don’t want to give you the impression I cook every night because I don’t. I often leave my family to fend for themselves, and they oblige.
But on days when I don’t feel like cooking and I experience guilt at not providing anything homemade, I have a series of extra fast crowd pleasers (if not exactly health pleasers). Grilled cheese sandwiches is one of those standards. Who doesn’t like grilled cheese sandwiches?
A few years ago, in LA, we went through the grilled cheese sandwich craze: fancy restaurants would have grilled cheese nights, with sandwiches made with artisanal breads and exotic cheeses. It was rather ridiculous to pay $15 for two slices of bread with some cheese inside but the craze meant that the grilled cheese sandwich was elevated from WonderBread and cheddar slices to something worth piling the calories for.
The bread needs to be properly grilled and the secret is mayo, not butter. If you have never tried it, heed my advice just this once. It will not disappoint.
Start with country bread, medium sliced. Spread a bit of mayo on one side. While you do that, heat a cast iron pan or a griddle on the stove, on high heat Once the pan is hot, put the bread in, mayo side down. Keep the heat med/high. Check after a few minutes and you will see the bread browning nicely. Spread a bit of mayo on the top side before turning.
After a couple of minutes, I start adding the cheese. What kind of cheese is entirely up to your taste: grate it or cut it into small chunks and pile it on – a few nights ago I happened to use rosemary asiago.
If the cheese is not too pungent and needs some kick, oregano and chili flakes do a nice job.
Serve open-faced with a salad on the side.