For my birthday every year my friend Crystal gives me a big chunk of gouda. She knows it’s one of my favorite cheeses! It has such a mild, nutty flavor and creamy texture that I just can’t get enough of it.
One of my favorite comfort foods is the simple grilled cheese sandwich. What’s not to love about grilled cheese? Crisp and buttery on the outside, creamy and hot on the inside, and ready to eat within five minutes or so; they are the perfect lunch. My mother’s style of making them for me as I was growing up was two slices of white sandwich bread spread with margarine, a slice of Kraft American cheese in between, and sizzle them on the skillet until warm brown on each side and melty in the center. I have to admit that I still like that little sandwich at times, especially when I haven’t been to the grocery store in awhile and it’s a bit hard to be more creative due to limited ingredients.
However, I had a much more “grown up” grilled cheese sandwich today, using slices of the gorgeous gouda that Crystal gave me.
(side note: In its homeland, gouda is pronounded “howda.” We Americans just say “goo-da.” It’s ok either way. More about gouda’s origins HERE.)
For the grown-up grilled cheese, I made a flavored, melted butter, used slices of French bread and dijon mustard. Here’s the step-by-step:
MamaSteph’s Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Slices of French bread or other rustic bread
1 TBS butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon (or slightly less for less heat) ground cayenne pepper
one clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
Gouda cheese slices (thin slices will obviously melt more quickly)
Melt the tablespoon of butter in a bowl in the microwave. Add to the melted butter the cayenne and black peppers, stirring to combine.
Slice two slices of French bread from the loaf; I made mine about 1/2 inch thick for easier eating and cheese-melting.
Rub one side of each slice of bread with the cut garlic; spread with dijon mustard, to taste.
Turn the bread over, and brush on the melted flavored butter, to cover.
Place one slice bread butter side down in medium-hot skillet. Place Gouda slices on the bread, and top with other bread slice.
Cook about two minutes, checking occasionally so as not to burn, and then flip to other side.
If your sandwich had a thick layer of Gouda that isn’t completely melted in the center, though the bread is browned on each side, you may place the (heatproof only) skillet in a hot oven to finish heating through without over-browning the bread.
This flavor combination was superb, in my opinion. It was flavorful, but not overly strong or hot, and it certainly wasn’t like the flimsy, rather flavorless grilled cheese sandwiches we had when we were growing up.
Additions that might go well with the sandwich would be a handful of grapes on the side, or some cooked bacon on the sandwich, and/or some grilled onion slices. I’d enjoy a bowl of cream of portabella soup alongside this, too. I will definitely be keeping this in my repertoire of recipes and will try various exciting combinations. I hope you will enjoy trying it, too.
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