Serves: Makes 1 serving
- 2 slices thin white or wheat bread
- 2 teaspoons softened salted butter
- ½ cup lightly packed shredded
- Cheddar cheese
Procedures:Rarely do so few ingredients create such a wonderfully satisfying thing to eat. It’s all about the cooking method, which isn’t grilling at all, but rather “griddling,” or cooking on a flat hot surface. A cast-iron skillet is best, but any heavy frying pan will do if you don’t have a true griddle. Cooking with a lid at first helps the cheese melt faster, so if your skillet doesn’t have a lid, borrow one from another pan. Whether you prefer sharp or mild Cheddar, get a good-quality cheese. This is not the time, however, for rustic artisanal breads. A good, firm sliced white or wheat bread from a package gives you the best results.
Spread one side of each slice of bread with the butter, taking care not to tear the bread. Flip one slice so the buttered side is down, then distribute the cheese evenly over the surface. Put a second piece of bread on top, buttered side up.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, place the sandwich in the pan, cover the pan with a lid, and cook until the underside is a rich golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid, flip the sandwich, and press it firmly with a spatula (but don't squash it). Cook until the second side is evenly browned as well and you can see the cheese melting inside, another 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Variations:To go beyond the classic, add tomato and mustard. Spread the nonbuttered sides of the bread with a thin layer of Dijon mustard and lay 2 or 3 thin slices of tomato on the cheese. Continue as for the classic sandwich.
Or try pear and aged Gouda. Gently sauté 2 or 3 thin slices ripe but firm pear in a little butter. Cool slightly. Assemble the sandwich, using aged Gouda instead of Cheddar. Lay the pear slices on the cheese, and season with salt, pepper, and about ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme. Continue as for the classic sandwich.