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Serious Entertaining: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups for a Crowd
I'm not going to try to pretend to take credit for this genius idea—I saw it late the other night during my daily pre-bedtime bath (not to be confused with my daily post-wake-time bath) on the foodporn sub-Reddit and immediately knew that I'd have to make it for lunch the next day. The idea is that when you've got a few hungry mouths to feed, rather than forming a grilled cheese sandwiches in the standard shape, you instead roll the cheese up into the bread jelly roll-style before gently frying them in butter. You end up with an easy-to-pick-up, eminently dippable snack that's more fun, easier to share, and just as tasty as the more traditional version.
Here's how you do it step-by-step.
Step 1: Remove Crusts
A soft, dense, Pullman-style sandwich bread is ideal for this. You don't want anything too crusty or with too large a hole structure.
Step 2: Flatten the Bread
You can use a rolling pin. We used a bottle of Lillet that had been sitting in the fridge for several months wishing that it were in Paris.
Step 3: Lay on Cheese
If you're into the fancier cheese, I've got some bad news for you: most of them won't work here as they are not elastic or flexible enough to roll up without busting up the bread. Good old American singles is the way to go. Lay them on the bread slightly above the bottom edge.
Step 4: Roll It!
Roll up the bread and cheese away from you, keeping things nice and tight.
Step 5: Finish With the Seam Down
Stop rolling when you meet the back edge of the bread so that the seam stays facing downwards.
Step 6: Compress
Press down with firm, even pressure. The goal is to get the roll up to form a flattened cylinder with two distinct sides for easier frying.
Step 7: Fry
Melt plenty of butter in a skillet and add the rolls. Very low, even heat is the way to go here. I had my burners on the lowest possible setting. If your rolls roll around, you can weigh them down gently with a flat, wide, metal spatula.
Don't worry if cheese starts to ooze, because it will. Just keep letting them cook until golden brown, then carefully scrap them up and flip them using a thin, flexible spatula for the job. The frying should take a total of 5 to 6 minutes to get both sides.
Step 8: Finished!
The finished rolls. If you want them to be a little prettier you can trim off the bits of burnt cheese that inevitably stuck to the ends and edges.
Step 9: Squeeze test
Go ahead. Give it a little squeeze. If cheese oozes out, you've done it right! More things in life should be evaluated via the squeeze test.*
*No joke: yesterday afternoon I saw a woman picking up live frogs in a Chinatown fish market, holding them by her ear, and squeezing them one by one.
Step 10: Dip It
Serve them up on a platter with a hot cup full of our Fifteen Minute Creamy Tomato Soup and you've got yourself a full-fledged dipping party! The fun only goes up from here.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.