Oozy. Crispy. Salty. A perfect grilled cheese sandwich – one of life’s great pleasures.
I remember making cheese toasties at school. Two pieces of the palest white bread, liberally buttered on the outside, then loaded with bright yellow cheddar, before being crammed into the communal toastie machine until trickles of hot oil made an escape as the cheese bubbled furiously.
There’s a certain comfort in those simple sarnie days. But now my taste for grilled cheese sandwiches has refined, which is lucky really because so have they. Now gourmet toasties are made with thick sliced sourdough bread, ladened with artisan cheeses and homemade pickles, and meticulously grilled before being washed down with cocktails and craft beers. So long Sunrise orange juice.
Two such grilled cheese craftsmen are Charlie and Jesse from Morty & Bob’s, a street-food-vendor-turned-temporary-resident-holder at The Hat and Tun in Farringdon. They’re grilling there for two cheese-fuelled weeks, serving a simple menu of their top three best sellers – The Straight Up, Mushroom & Truffle and The Hock. I tried them last night and blimey, they’re good.
So, I couldn’t help but ask Charlie, what makes the perfect grilled cheese toastie?
- Cheese! Push the boat out and get your hands on some good cheese. Mix it up a bit… some strong supermarket cheddar is fine but maybe add another special cheese or two to it. Go into the cheese shop or market stall instead of just looking at it every week and tell them what your doing.. We went through about 40 cheeses before we got to our perfect blend at Neals Yard Dairy.
- Bread! white, brown, sourdough, granary… whatever type you want just avoid the white convenience store bread (unless its sunday evening and you’re deeply hungover,) and make sure its a couple of days+ old. Its fine to eat and the staleness will get it nice and crispy on the outside.
- Melt your butter and paint it on the sandwich once on the grill… this will give even distribution and ensure maximum crispiness. (add some rosemary or thyme to the butter… this will take it up a notch… better yet paint it on with the stem!)
- Now this is a bit chef-y but its all about balancing the flavour profile. Throw in some chutney or something sharp/sweet/savoury… whatever you want.. cheese can take it! For all the lovers, you probably know this but Marmite is awesome!
- Our last tip is… show the above to someone else and get them to make it! How much better is something when someone else makes it?! A lot, is the answer! Kick them out of bed and tell them you want the BEST GRILLED CHEESE EVER!