Who doesn't love a warm, comforting grilled cheese sammich when the weather gets cold? Some good bread, a few slices of cheddar, butter, and a big crunchy pickle is heaven to me! Throw in a side of tomato soup and we got a winning combination!
I always thought I was creative when I took spinach, pears, and brie and made a very classy little grilled cheese pressed between some heavy skillets. However, Marlena Spieler - a long time writer for Bon Appetit and author of many cookbooks - has brought grilled cheese to a new level. Her book Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt is just the thing to bring a creative comfort to your kitchen during the cold season.
The book starts out with a comprehensive review and introduction. She begins by covering various types of cheeses (blue viened, soft, cow, goat, semi-hard, spiced, bloomy rind, smoked and so on in extremely specifc subcategories) and how each can be perfectly utilized and paired for your own creative uses. All are accompanied by a short description describing their general flavors and properties. Since one may not be able to eat a whole wedge of cheese, Spieler also considers the proper storage and handling of cheeses. To further aide the grilled cheese selection process, a section covering breads, meats, fuits, chutneys and so on are all covered so that your experience with her recipes and your own home concoctions! At the back is even a resource guide on where to find good cheese stores or markets, and suggestions on finding local cheeses.
But how do the recipes stand up? Perfectly. Rob and I have already found a few favorites, ensuring that we now keep a few select cheeses on hand, and nudging us to always experiment with a new piece of stinky goodness. Rob's current favorite is the Mediterranean Meltdown; tomatoes, Mahon cheese, and fresh thyme on olive bread. We threw in some sauteed red onions as well for a truly filling and rustic sammich!
I've become partial to the fresh mozarella, fig jam, and prosciutto for it's sweet and salty sensations. The raddicchio, Roquefort and toasted pecans on pain au levain is another delectible tid-bit that goes well next to a blazing heater or roaring fire place.
Breaking out the heavy skillet is definetly part of the charm, but don't think that some of these don't mix it up. Classics such as the tuna melt are revamped. Recipes calling for home made chili aioli, and fruity chutneys make for a flavorful and fun experience and a perfect excuse to visit local farmer's markets. Desserts, salads, and a classic accompaniments also adorn the book, and well as a small section for a few homemade mustards to keep things spicy!
The book is filled to the brim with gorgeous photos any photographer would envy. Sheri Giblin, a local San Francisco food photographer, has done an excellent job bring each and every recipe to life. Luckilly with grilled cheese being such a simple fare, many times yours will look much like the photo. Mine have to my total surprise.
[...] I highly suggest you go order a bargain book copy. Mine has one or two stickers on it, but really, who cares? The book has tons of great ideas, and will fill you with inspiration for simple meals, and fun lunches with friends.
Overall, the book is shibby, affordable, and truly cheesy.