It’s raining here in Southern California this morning. Rain always makes me think of lunch. I want to be somewhere warm and dry, eating something warm and hearty. Soup would be good but I don’t have enough time. Lamb shank would also be good: same problem, maybe for dinner. Grilled cheese is perfect. It’s hearty and warm, and it has enough comfort food properties for me that I will feel happy to be warm and dry.
I think of two places when I think of grilled cheese. The first time I ever had this kind of grilled cheese was in Boston when I was in college. Soup places were all the rage and the one nearest my school made a sandwich very similar to the one below.
I then took a couple of decades off from grilled cheese, fearing the cholesterol ridden, artery clogging cheese more than life itself. Then I realized that busses and taxicabs were probably a greater threat on my life than the occasional gooey sandwich and I have not looked back.
Recently, I have found the updated version of my childhood favorite, grilled cheese and tomato soup. The Bouchon Bakery on the 4th floor of the Warner Center on Columbus Circle in Manhattan not only has spectacular views of Central Park and 59th Street, but it also has this yummy combination. Not made the same as my one below, but it is still the perfect rainy day meal, and if you happen to be in that neighborhood (the Whole Foods Market in the basement is spectacular) you should stop by, enjoy the view and have this classic. Make sure you go late in the afternoon because they don’t take reservations and it is always packed at lunch. I have often had good luck around 3 in the afternoon.
- Mild Cheddar (or any other cheese that you like)
- 2 Pieces of Hearty Bread
- 1/4 Cup Scallions, chopped
- 2 Tomato Slices
- Non-Stick Pan or Grill Pan
- Butter one side of each of the slices of bread. I love to make this with day old homemade bread.
- Spread a layer of scallions on one slice.
- Cover with cheese. You can use more than one type of cheese if you like. I prefer to keep it simple. Any kind of cheese will work, but the harder cheeses take longer to melt. Stinky cheese might be too strong, but it’s totally up to you.
- Place in pan, buttered side down.
- You also have a choice with the tomato. You can put it on now and cook it, leave it until the end or leave it off completely.
- Cover with the other slice of bread, butter side up.
- Cover until bottom is golden brown.
- Flip and cover until other side is cooked.
- Slice in half and serve with Winter Tomato Soup (Earlier recipe)