Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato

I can't believe I got over halfway through the month before it sunk in that April is National Grilled Cheese month!

Thank goodness I still have time to redeem myself. So let's go...

Grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches will forever have a memory association for me of being at a Grateful Dead  show right after I finished high school.  Like literally everyone came directly there right after graduation.  We spent the entire weekend there in that big ol' community campout area and it was one wild weekend (if you ever went to one then you know...).

I remember during the day, walking around the campsites and cool people would be selling grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches made on camp stoves and sell for like $1. You could get cheap banana pancakes in the mornings and grilled cheese and tomato in the afternoon. They tasted so good after a night of extreme festivities.

Such fun memories from that weekend!

Anyway, I have some fool-proof methods for you, if you want to make the perfect grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and they are this:

1. The most important one is dealing with the tomatoes: you need to get rid of some of the moisture in the tomatoes, nobody likes a soggy grilled cheese sandwich. This is what I do. I slice the tomato about 1/4 inch thick and season both sides with kosher salt. Then I lay the tomato on a triple layer of paper towel, and cover them with another triple layer of paper towel. I then put a lightweight baking sheet on top of the tomatoes to further press them. I let them sit at least 10 min. Then the tomatoes are well seasoned and ready to use!

2. The cheese: I am a firm believer that shredded cheese makes for the best grilled cheese. More specifically, medium cheddar shredded on the large holes of a box grater. (No pre-grated cheese from a sack please.) Shredded as opposed to sliced makes for a more evenly melted and creamy grilled cheese sandwich every time.

3. Softened, salted butter. I use unsalted butter for everything but toast, rolls and grilled cheese. Important in  this gal's opinion.

4. Lastly, don't rush it. Slow and steady wins the race. The longer you let it cook, the crispier it will be on the outside and creamier it will be on the inside.

If you follow these methods I promise you will be enjoying a seriously delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
~makes 1 sandwich~

2 slices of whole wheat bread (or whatever bread you like)
2-4 (1/4 inch thick) slices of tomato
kosher salt
1/2 c. (approximate) shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 T. salted butter, softened

1. Sprinkle both sides of the tomato with salt (just as much as you would like them seasoned). Place tomato slices on a triple-thick layer of paper towel. Cover with another triple-thick layer of paper towel. Place a lightweight baking sheet on the tomatoes and let the tomatoes drain for at least 10 minutes.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet (10 inch or 12 inch) over medium low heat while preparing the sandwich

3. On one slice of bread layer half the cheese, the salted tomato slices, then the other half of the cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top. Spread the top bread slice with half the butter. 

4. Place the sandwich in the hot skillet, buttered side down and spread the remaining butter over the other side of the sandwich. Cook over medium to medium-low heat about 10 minutes per side, until the sandwich is toasty brown and the cheese is ooey gooey.

5. Remove the sandwich from the pan and let sit for 3-5 minutes to let the cheese set a little (so it doesn't ooze out everywhere when you cut it). Cut however you like, or don't.


  1. OMG, it looks totally delicious! So simple with all my favourite flavours. Cheese and tomatoes always work together well :)
    All the best for You.

  2. There's really nothing that's as great as a grilled cheese. And with tomatoes? Even better :)