There’s no comfort food quite like grilled cheese. However horrible your day or foul your mood, it’s impossible to not feel happier holding something golden, gooey and mouth-wateringly melty. When life gives you lemons, skip the lemonade stand and head straight for the grill. You’ll feel a whole lot better for it.
For as long as we’ve known that cheese and bread belong together, people have being slapping the two on something hot. The result is literally thousands of different formulas for delicious, decadent cheese toastie perfection that all deliver something special. With all this wealth of grilled cheese knowledge, it’s difficult to find the one thing that can send your sandwich to the stratosphere. Difficult, but not impossible.
If anyone was going to find the cheese-hack to end all cheese-hacks, we might have known that it would be Jamie Oliver. For nearly two decades, The Naked Chef has been bringing food back to its delicious basics for a new generation of inspired amateurs. After dozens of books, shows and recipes, his cheese toastie might just be what cements his legacy.
On the face of it, his grilled cheese recipe starts off just like any other. Though he says that chefs can use any cheese they like, Oliver opts for two of Britain’s best in the form of red Leicester and cheddar. He then builds a base of white bread - buttered on both sides - and thick cheese shavings, before sandwiching the whole lot together.
He then adds his freshly prepped sandwich to a pan on a low to medium heat, careful to avoid burning the outside of the bread. Oliver suggests a cook time of about three minutes on each side - enough to melt the middle without ruining the classic grilled cheese golden brown colour. He also recommends using whatever tins you may have handy to weigh down the sandwich, making sure that it cooks flat.
Whilst this is all undoubtedly delicious, there’s little so far to suggest that Oliver’s approach is any better or worse than a thousand other recipes. The key is in the topping. After removing the sandwich, he then grates another load of cheese straight into the hot pan, before placing the toastie straight back on top. After adding a pinch of cayenne and waiting for a minute and a half, he lifts up the bread to let the cooked cheese hang off the edge. After thirty seconds spent solidifying in the air, the end result is a crisp crown of crunchy cheese. This is what separates this sandwich from the rest.
Though there are many celebrity chefs who have had a stab at grilled cheese perfection, for our money it’s tough to beat Jamie Oliver’s take. Not only do you get the sandwich essentials of gooey middle and golden bread, but there’s the added extra of a funky, fried and textured topping. As any sandwich fan will be quick to tell you, there are a million ways to enjoy grilled cheese. But, if your next sandwich is missing this particular treat, you will most likely be bitterly disappointed.