Students everywhere know the struggles of making a regular old grilled-cheese sandwich feel new and interesting, but even when funds are low, quality grilled cheese can be a viable meal option for anyone.
There are four main components to the grilled cheese: the buttery crust, the bread, the cheese and the texture. Any changes to these main elements will kickstart your way to creating a new and improved grilled cheese.
Need some ideas? The Sheaf always has your back. Here are five tips to improve your grilledcheese game.
Add flavour to your butter: The spread for your bread can completely change your creation. Before spreading the butter — or whatever you use — on the bread, try cracking some black pepper on it. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, try mixing sriracha into it as well! Pepper and sriracha both add new flavour profiles that can contrast the cheese. Mixing in some of those tasty herbs from your garden or cupboard can also make excellent variations, like basil butter.
Try different textures: Half the cheesy battle is about the feel of the sandwich. While the traditional texture of a grilled-cheese sandwich is near and dear to most people’s hearts, changing it up with the addition of something crunchy — like almonds — can add the pizzazz you’re looking for. One of the easiest ways you can do this is to add everyone’s favourite swine product — bacon. The crackling texture of bacon changes the overall texture and taste of the grilled-cheese sammie.
Change your cheeses: This cannot be stressed enough. The melty, stringy nature that the cheese gets is iconic, and changing this element will only improve your grilled-cheese experience. The familiarity of mild American cheddar or American marbled cheese is great, but why not try something from a new group of cheeses? Some of these include high-moisture cheeses — such as Gouda — soft cow’s-milk cheeses — such as Brie — and alpine cheeses, like Gruyère or Emmental. If you are worried about spending too much on the variety of cheese, you can go to most delis, and they will have a number of cheap pre-sliced cheeses. These can come in packages of varying sizes, which can last for the creation of a great number of your gourmet grilled cheeses.
Try a new bread: Some people forget to switch up their bready base. A good way to find different and delicious bread is to go and support your local bakery or farmer’s market. At either of these places, there is undoubtedly some dude in a plaid shirt who woke up that 3:30 in the morning to bake a wide variety of artisanal breads, which are all but calling your name. This baker might try to hook you on a bread with a fruity element, and this is always a good place to start.
Whether it be a walnut-currant bread or a loaf of the finest apple-beer flax bread, the bread that you choose is crucial. Not only will it inform the grilled cheese’s texture, but it will also impact the overall flavour that your sandwich will have.
Add a third element: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Whether it be fruit, cured meats or vegetables, there are many items that you can add to create a different texture and flavour profile within your sandwich. For instance, pepper salami and some hot peppers can make your regular grilled cheese into a superb one.
When you add just one new element to your grilled cheese, the complementing flavours can make for a completely new sandwich experience.
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor