Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ultimate "Grilled Cheese" Sandwich

The sandwich cooled when I was first photographing it, so I popped it in the microwave for a few seconds. It was warm and melty after that!
As my children - and some of their friends - can testify, I make a mean grilled cheese sandwich. It's not rocket science, really: just use a variety of sliced cheeses, spread the bread with a thin layer of butter, and cook the sandwiches low and slow in a covered frying pan (helps melt the cheese inside).

On the "Ultimate Rainy Day" episode of Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network, Tyler cooked up an "ultimate grilled cheese" sandwich to accompany "ultimate chicken noodle soup." Now each to his or her respective own, but when I pair soup + sandwich, it's tomato soup + grilled cheese. But I do love chicken soup, so I tried Tyler's version of chicken noodle a few weeks ago. Now it was time for the sandwich.

When you watch the episode or read the recipe for Tyler's Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich you can see what a creative mood Tyler was in on that particular rainy day. His sandwich bears as much resemblance to a normal grilled cheese as his chicken meatball tortellini soup bears to regular chicken noodle soup. It is a grilled sandwich, true. And it has cheese inside. But imo when you add things like pesto and sliced tomatoes it veers out of the boundaries of Grilled Cheese Land. No matter, the sandwich sounded great so I prepared it for a meatless dinner on a Friday in Lent, accompanied by a big salad.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- I keep a stash of pesto in my freezer, made with last summer's basil. My pesto recipe is a bit different from the one Tyler features; his has some parsley in addition to basil. If I hadn't been lazy - and if I'd thought about it - I could have stirred some chopped parsley into my pesto before spreading it on the bread.

- I used pre-sliced mozarella cheese because I had some in my fridge.

- I added some sliced gruyere cheese - isn't everything better with a little sharp melty cheese?

- For bread, I used ciabiatta rather than sourdough.

- The olive oil gave a nice crisp toasted edge to the bread.

the verdict:

This sandwich filled the bill for a melty, toasty, savory sandwich. I love how the basil and tomatoes combined with the melty cheese and crusty bread. Olive oil completed the Mediterranean flavor theme.

Would I call this the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich? Truth be told, not really. It is a delicious sandwich which makes a great addition to the repertory. But it doesn't replace the good old grilled cheese that says "comfort" to me.

I'm submitting this sandwich to Tyler Florence Fridays, which is an online group dedicated to cooking Tyler's recipes. If you want to see some truly delicious food, hop on over to the roundup on Friday and check out what each blogger has cooked up.

24 comments:

Elyse said...

Oh my goodness--this grilled cheese lives up to its name. It does look like the ultimate. In fact, it's making me hungry at 12:30am. Man oh man, I'm going to need to make this tomorrow; I can already tell. Great pictures, too!

Barbara said...

Oh Boy! Is there anything more comforting than a grilled cheese sandwich? Can't wait to try it.

Cathy said...

This really looks delicious -- it is definitely a sandwich I would enjoy. I just won't think of it as "grilled cheese" or "ultimate." I think I'll call it a "tomato, basil and mozzarella panini" instead. How wonderful that you have a stash of pesto in your freezer -- I am going to have to be sure to do that this summer.

leanne said...

This looks amazing to me. I made his chicken soup from that episode. I may have to make this as well. I love grilled cheese!

Sweet Charity said...

You're right- this sandwich looks darn good (my mouth is watering!), but it wouldn't replace my beloved good ol' grilled cheese.
And definitely tomato soup all the way!!

Maria said...

I love the cheese that is pouring out of that sandwich. Nice job!

Reeni♥ said...

I made this too! It was so delicious with the pesto on it!! Grilled Cheese's are the best. If you like mustard-try just a tiny bit-I like it on one side-on your grilled cheese-it tastes so yummy!

Natashya said...

I love getting creative with grilled cheese - hubby always makes his with sharp cheddar, mustard and black pepper, sort of his signature dish. Yum!
Looks great!

pinkstripes said...

basil+tomatoes+cheese always gets me. I love when cheese melts on the pan and gets nice and crispy.

I just made some pesto with cilantro in addition to the basil. It was delicious. I'll have to try it with parsley.

Audrey said...

I remember that when we went camping in Girl Scouts, having grilled cheese and tomato soup for BREAKFAST was the "ultimate" treat! I haven't made (or even eaten) grill cheese in so long, and now I want some. Right now, in fact! Love the addition of pesto.

Sara said...

This really does look like the ultimate grilled cheese. I also keep pesto in my freezer, it's so convenient!

Pam said...

I have this sandwich down on my list to try. Grilled cheese is my ultimate favorite sandwich.

Megan said...

Anything with melted cheese has to be good.

Peggy said...

I love grilled cheese. Could eat one right now as a late night snack if I had the energy left to make it!! Yours look great.

Leslie said...

Grilled cheese plus tomato soup is the BEST! I'll have to try this one, even though I am a butter grilled cheese purist. Your photo is making me hungry!

Di said...

That looks really good, but for me, grilled cheese is best with just cheese. =) Mmm, it's lunchtime and now I'm getting hungry...

Jude said...

Sounds extra amazing with the pesto and tomatoes. That does look like a mean grilled cheese sandwich.

Debinhawaii said...

Basil and melty cheese on toasty bread works for me.
Yum! Great photo!

Joanne said...

I keep seeing these on TFF, which means they must be worth making. Along with those chocolate chip cookies. I wish I had pesto in my freezer, but I'll have t make do with store-bought until summer returns.

karen said...

i really liked these when i made them, too. the olive oil instead of butter on the outside was a nice change i thought. and i'm with you, tomato soup and grilled cheese all the way in the pairing department. i went to this place called the greene turtle and they had "grown up grilled cheese and soup" on the menu... and the soup choices were crab soup or french onion. no tomato at all. whhhaaaa?? lol.

Emily said...

This sounds so delicious! I can't wait to test it out! Yum, a perfect lunch for a rainy weekend. -e

Jenny said...

This is on my to try list (actually, I was supposed to try it last week). I intend to mess around with it a bit myself, so lead on you rebel of a recipe changer - I've got your back! :-)

So Simple said...

Nancy The sandwich looks great In New Zealand we call these sandwiches Toasted sandwiches...same food, different name.
Now I am excited I have found out about Tyler's Friday. he is one of my favourite TV Chefs.
Good food Good looking
Cheers
Pleased I have found your blog.
I too love baking bread "It's a Living Thing"...
Cheers

TeaLady said...

OOHH!! That looks perfect. I love a grilled cheese with tomato soup. Perfect on a rainy/blustery/cold/hot/calm day. Yours looks great.