Who doesn’t like a good grilled cheese sandwich? It’s astonishing the pleasure melted cheese in between bread can produce. However, in order to make such a simple dish exceptional you the need proper ingredients. A dense tangy sourdough is the perfect support for a full-bodied mature cheddar. Cut by the sharpness of onions the mouthful is heavenly, but beware, plain cheese toasties will be very dull after you’ve tried this recipe.
I’ve been making my cheese sandwich this way ever since I visited the Kappacasien stall at the Borough Market (the biggest food market in London). I was love-struck and dreamt about it for weeks afterwards. I assumed pestering customers have twisted their arm into giving out their secret as they’ve had the kindness of sharing their recipe with the world (you can find it here). I’ve modified it to fit me lifestyle as I rarely have 3 different types of cheese in my fridge or leek for that matter. But let me assure you that my version is close enough to give you real experience.
-Step 2 to 5-
Part of the secret lies in the mix of chopped onions. Use a good variety, some mild others stronger, to create an interesting depth of flavors. Use whatever you have at home, from red onions to chives or scallions (spring onions) and shallots. Add a kick with garlic: purple, smoked, or wild, all works, just make sure you chop the ingredients quite finely to avoid the onions overpowering the cheese.
Choosing the right cheese is very important too. Go for one with big flavors and a good melting property: a mature cheddar works wonders. I love its pungent and slightly nutty flavor, but you could play with different mixes of cheese to get the right balance that works for you if you are lucky enough to have more than one at home.
-Step 5 and 6-
Here’s a really neat trick: adding the chopped onions after the sandwich has been on the grill for a few minutes allows them to stick to the partially melted cheese and prevents them from falling out of the sandwich when flipped. It will make your job a lot easier.
-Step 6 and 7-
Remember those singles Kraft grilled cheese we used to eat as a kid? If you’re from Canada or America you definitely know what I’m talking about. Well this sandwich is nothing like it. It’s like comparing grape juice with fine wine: same idea, completely different result. This is a grilled cheese for adults and can’t get any better than this.
- a mix of green onions (scallions), shallots, red or white onions (whatever you have at home)
- a small Garlic clove
- a handful of grated Mature Cheddar
- 2 thin slices of a good Sourdough bread
- Put a pan or a grill on a low heat.
- Chop the different onions and the garlic very finely, mix in a small bowl and keep aside.
- Grate a portion of cheddar cheese, keep aside.
- Put both pieces of bread on the counter and top one slice with the grated cheese. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread and press gently.
- Butter the outside of the top slice and grill the sandwich on the buttered side for about 2 minutes.
- When the cheese starts to melt remove the top slice of bread and add a few teaspoons of the onion mixture. Close it back up and butter the top.
- Turn the sandwich and grill on the other side for 2 minutes. The sandwich is ready once the cheese is oozing out and the bread is nicely toasted.
- Adding the onions after a few minutes allows them to stick to the cheese and prevents them from falling out of the sandwich when flipping.
- Have all your ingredients ready before starting the cooking process. You won’t be able to chop the onions in time if the sandwich is already on the heat.