Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

April Is Grilled Cheese Month

Applause all around for the grilled cheese sandwich — the ultimate comfort food.

Restaurant menus concentrate uniquely on it; blogs are dedicated to it; a month celebrates it and numerous articles are written about it. Yet, it is one of the more simple staples of the American diet.

Behold the culinary wonder – that is the grilled cheese sandwich. April is National Grilled Cheese month, and America’s Dairyland is the resource for all things cheesy and melty.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) is celebrating the ultimate comfort food all April long. Recipes provided below are courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. 

Tips for enjoying the perfect grilled cheese sandwich:
• Butter the bread, not the pan.  Butter will be more evenly distributed which ensures a properly crisp sandwich.
• When using dense breads, slice them thinly so that the heat can penetrate and melt the cheese.
• Grate or shred the cheese; it will melt faster.
• Press the sandwich with a spatula after it’s been flipped to help create the perfect even spread of cheese.
• Use a nonstick pan instead of cast-iron – the sandwich is less likely to stick to the pan, which makes clean-up much easier.
Recipe: Tuscan-style Wiscon Grilled Cheese Sandwich 

Ingredients:
18 spears (1 pound) grilled asparagus
1/2 cup prepared balsamic-garlic-olive oil vinaigrette
12 slices crusty sourdough bread
12 slices (6 ounces) Wisconsin Fontina Cheese
12 slices (8 ounces) Wisconsin Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (from 4 ounce ovals)
1 cup (1 ounce) fresh basil leaves
1 cup (6 ounces) roasted red pepper pieces
12 slices (6 ounces) Wisconsin Provolone Cheese
extra virgin olive oil, as needed 

Cooking Directions:
Toss grilled asparagus with vinaigrette and let stand covered and refrigerated, at least 2 hours before using. Reserve.

Lay 6 slices of bread on clean, flat surface. Top each slice with (in order) 2 slices Wisconsin Fontina, 3 marinated drained asparagus spears, 2 slices Wisconsin Fresh Mozzarella, 6 fresh basil leaves, 2 1/2 tablespoons red pepper, and 2 slices Wisconsin Provolone. Top with second slice of bread and brush both sides of sandwich with olive oil.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and grill sandwiches on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in 350ºF oven 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
Grilled Wisconsin Fontina Sandwich

Ingredients:

Cherry Chutney:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 cup water

Sandwich:
8 slices hearty bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
16 slices of Wisconsin Fontina cheese
1 pound smoked turkey, shaved
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thin 

Cooking Directions:
To prepare chutney, heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions until beginning to brown. Deglaze pan with vinegar. Add cherries, salt, tarragon, honey and water and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes; cool.

To prepare sandwiches, butter one side of each slice of bread. Place four slices of bread, buttered side down, in a large, non-stick pan or griddle on medium heat. Top each with Wisconsin Fontina cheese, turkey, sliced apple, and 1 tablespoon of chutney. Top with remaining four slices of bread, buttered side out. Grill each side until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Grilled Wisconsin Havarti Sandwich with Spiced Apples
Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
4 to 6 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
8 thick slices rustic round loaf bread (French or Italian)
8 thin slices Wisconsin Havarti Cheese 

Cooking Directions:
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom; cook about 7 minutes, stirring frequently until most of the apple juices are reduced and the fruit is coated with syrup. Remove pan from heat. Set aside.

Place four slices of the bread on a griddle. Top each with one slice of Wisconsin Havarti, 1/4 of the spiced apples, another slice of Havarti and top with remaining slices of bread. Butter sandwich tops. Turn over and butter again.

Place griddle over medium heat. Brown on each side 3 to 5 minutes, until golden and Havarti begins to melt. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Do you  have a favorite grilled cheese sandwich?

What about a low fat version of a grilled cheese sandwich?

Karyn Zoldan
karyn

  1. Great tip about shredding the cheese so it will melt faster. I tried to solve the melting problem by throwing the sandwich into the microwave after I’ve grilled the bread in a skillet, but it comes out soggy — defeats the whole purpose.

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