Grilled cheese sandwiches need little improvement. From the basic Wonder bread and American cheese combo to ritzier versions, the combination of buttery, toasted-until-golden bread gushing with warm melted cheese is synonymous with comfort.
Nevertheless, adding a few bells and whistles to the classic never hurt. This grilled cheese is slathered in butter for that crisp exterior that's a must for these sandwiches, while the inside is generously layered with soft, mildly pungent taleggio cheese. Tucked in the middle are mixed mushrooms sautéed with herbs and sweet shallots.
The trick to perfect grilled cheese sandwiches is to cook them over moderate heat so the bread toasts to a perfect bronze and the cheese melts thoroughly; there's nothing worse than a grilled cheese that looks good on the outside, only to reveal cheese that it's barely warmed through. Take it from an impatient person: your time is worth it here.
- Yield:Makes 4 sandwiches
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces taleggio cheese, sliced
- 8 slices hearty bread, such as Pullman loaf
Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in sherry vinegar and cook an additional 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to plate and wipe out skillet.
Spread 1 side of each slice of bread with remaining 4 tablespoons butter and flip bread slices over. Distribute cheese evenly over 8 slices bread. Divide mushroom mixture among 4 slices of cheese-topped bread, then, top with remaining 4 slices and press down gently with hands. (Butter should be on exterior of sandwiches).
Cook sandwiches in 2 batches over medium heat until crisp and golden on both sides, pressing down with spatula, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer sandwiches to cutting board and let rest 3 minutes. Cut on the diagonal and serve immediately.