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).
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!
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.
- 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.
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.