Deconstructed Grilled Cheese
I had two ideas for this week’s grilled cheese: Fettuccine Alfredo and deconstructed. Since the Alfredo grilled cheese did not sound healthy in the least (and I ended up making something similar down the road), I decided to go with deconstructed. (Also, my friend Jeremy suggested that I go with deconstructed and he has yet to steer me wrong, so…)
- Sliced Tomatoes
- Sauteed Onions w/Garlic
- Shredded Pepperjack Cheese
- Mild Cheddar
- Challah Bread
cheese #1: shredded pepper jack
Thanks to my local market‘s specials, I had two perfect cheeses to choose from, including shredded pepper jack (and mild cheddar). I have not used pepper jack before, and I like a little kick in my cheese, so I went ahead and purchased a bag. The pepper jack was very creamy and smooth, with just a minor kick to enhance the flavor.
cheese #2: wisconsin mild cheddar
First thought when tasting this cheese: mac and cheese; definitely a compliment to the cheese.
Deconstruct: To break something down into its component parts
Once I decided on a deconstructed grilled cheese, I had to devise a plan on how to break apart the basic pieces of a grilled cheese (bread and cheese) as well as any other ingredients (sauteed onions and sliced tomatoes) while still maintaining the essence of a grilled cheese. Below is my plan…
Since I had yet to try this “deconstructed” idea, I did not want to get too fancy with additional ingredients. I figured sauteed onions with some garlic was pretty simple and would work well. The garlic ended up adding a nice, additional kick to the grilled cheese sandwich.
Continuing with the simplicity of the deconstructed grilled cheese, I sliced tomato and added it to the sandwich. I was thinking that I would season the tomatoes with salt and pepper but it totally slipped my mind. The seasoning may have overpowered all the flavors already included with this deconstructed grilled cheese so, looking back, it was a good thing that I forgot.
Usually when making a grilled cheese sandwich, you grill the whole sandwich as one piece. However, with my deconstructed grilled cheese sandwich, I grilled each individual piece separately.
I buttered each side of the bread with melted sweet butter, cooking until golden brown. Be careful, there is a fine line between golden brown and burnt so make sure to keep an eye on your bread during the entire grilling process.
The main issue with a deconstructed grilled cheese sandwich is of course the cheese. Should you melt it? Leave it “whole/cold?” I decided I would try to melt the pepper jack to create a “cheese crisp.” The pepper jack melted and then crisped perfectly by simply placing it on a hot grill pan for a few minutes. Once the cheese cooled, it hardened, making a great addition to my deconstructed grilled cheese. In regards to the mild cheddar, I left it whole for the complete deconstructed phase. However, when I reconstructed the grilled cheese sandwich, I placed the sliced cheddar on a warm (not hot) pan for only a couple seconds, just to get it soft. It worked out perfectly.
the grilled cheese:
deconstructed grilled cheese: A
I am very proud of this grilled cheese as the idea was completely original and it turned out perfectly. (Someone may have done something similar, but I have yet to find them!) Of course, if the reconstructed sandwich did not taste good, the gimmick would have been for naught, but the combination of the multiple cheeses, tomatoes, sauteed onions with garlic and challah was absolutely delicious. The challah was a perfect choice of bread for this sandwich, which I only thought of at the last minute. Sure, the challah probably should have been cut into smaller slices, but beyond that, I was truly impressed with how good the flavor combination was. It also helped that I had a perfect dish to showcase each individual ingredient of my deconstructed grilled cheese sandwich. I would highly recommend trying your own deconstructed grilled cheese, with any of your favorite ingredients.
ingredients were purchased at…
- Miles Farmer’s Market (Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Shredded Pepperjack, Mild Cheddar, Challah)