Nearly everyone loves a grilled cheese sandwich. From an early age, we dine on these classic sandwiches at school lunch tables and at the home dinner table, often served alongside a bowl of steaming tomato soup. It's an easy and cheap sandwich to make in a pinch, which is probably why this sandwich has stood the test of time in the American household. And I've had more than my fair share of grilled cheese made with sandwich bread and Kraft singles. There's still something nostalgic about this combination that sends me right back to cold winter nights having a quick dinner with my brother and sister after we were out sledding or pelting each other with snowballs.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been ruminating about a more adult take on a grilled cheese sandwich. I wanted to make something above and beyond your standard grilled cheese and tackle this sandwich with more than just fancy cheese. I pondered as I walked through the grocery store, and considered substituting a garlic asiago loaf for the typical sandwich bread. But I didn't want to add too much complexity of flavor. I wanted to highlight the grilled cheese in a new, big way. Finally, a light bulb! What if, like a Monte Cristo sandwich, I dredged the bread slices in an egg batter, fried them up on the griddle, THEN added the cheese?
Success! The resulting grilled cheese was everything I had hoped for and more. The French toasted bread slices were toasted on the outside but soft and delicious on the inside. The egg battering added a subtle richness to the sandwich, but it didn't overwhelm the grilled cheese-ness of my dinner! For cheeses, I went with a smoked Gouda for a light, smokey flavor and a thin slice of sharp cheddar to add a bit of a bite. I also threw on some sliced heirloom tomatoes to round out the grilled cheese and add some freshness. It was decadent...cheesy...and oh-so-amazing. I served my sandwich with a side of lightly dressed greens. And then I devoured that sandwich in an instant. If you are looking for a kicked-up grilled cheese to satisfy your adult tastes, look no further!
French Toasted Grilled Cheese
Makes two sandwiches
4 1-inch slices of a large, Italian loaf of bread
4 thin slices of smoked Gouda cheese
2 thin slices of white sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices of tomato
3 tbls milk
Salt & pepper
Butter or cooking spray
In a shallow dish (I use a pie pan), crack the three eggs and add the milk. Whisk with a fork until combined. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Dredge the bread slices in the egg mixture, allowing each side of the bread to sit in the egg for a minute or so.
Grease a griddle or large skillet with butter or cooking spray and heat the pan or griddle to about medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the bread slices. You may need to do this in stages depending on the size of your pan. Toast the bread until it is lightly browned on one side, then flip.
Once the other side is lightly browned, assemble the sandwiches. Place two slices of Gouda, one slice of cheddar, and one slice of tomato on one slice of toasted bread and top with another slice. If you were able to cook all four slices, repeat to make your second sandwich. Continue to cook the sandwiches, flipping occasionally until the bread is a deep golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Remove the sandwiches from the pan and cut in half. Serve alongside some salad greens. Try not to swoon.