January 31, 2012

Weekly Tidbits: Avocado Grilled Cheese

Avocado Grilled Cheese
I felt inspired to tackle the classic grilled cheese after reading an article written by Ruth Reichl for Gilt Taste on several small changes you can make to take your grilled cheese from ordinary to extraordinary.  Although I think we all have to admit that it's not physically possible to make a bad grilled cheese.  It's cheese and bread.  Even if you fail to melt the cheese or burn the crust, it's still cheese and bread!  Frankly, I'll eat one in pretty much any condition.

I have loved the classic white bread and Velveeta grilled cheese since childhood.  On a faster and similar note, I used to eat cheese pouches (Hoffman Super Sharp + Pita Bread + 45 sec microwave) for lunches in high school.  Or breakfasts. Or snacks.  Did I mention I love cheese?

As I've grown older, I've experimented with new variations.  Whole grain, seeded, honey and oat breads.  I've combined provolones, cheddars, swiss, monterrey jack and brie.  I've rotated in tomatoes, faux ham, spicy mustards, even peanut butter on occasion.  I've also always known that the key to a melted, golden edged grilled cheese is patience and low heat.

So not everything Ms. Reichl describes in this article is new to me.  But what really turned the tables on me in the article was her suggestion to coat the outside of the sandwich not with butter, but with mayo.  Mayo!  I really hate mayo.  I was raised on Miracle Whip Light and have the same sort of violent opinion on the matter that I reserve for Yankees vs. Red Sox debates (clearly, the Yankees are smarmy, overpaid, juiced up egotists that have never deserved a single World Series win).  So when I gave this savvy suggestion a shot with MW instead - and just as awesome, adding a little tang to the sandwich, while perfectly browning the bread.

Another great suggestion was shredding the cheese as opposed to laying on slices.  Most cheeses aren't overly processed and meant to melt at the drop of a hat like pasteurized cheese product, so by grating the cheese you increase the surface area exposed to the heat and it melts so much faster!  Bravo, Rachel!

Avocado Grilled Cheese

Here is a little summary of the new and improved grilled cheese sandwich:

2 slices of Whole Foods 365 Organic Mighty Multigrain Bread
1 tbsp Miracle Whip Light, divided in two parts
3 slices of deli-sliced Havarti (or grate if you buy a hunk)
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/2 avocado, 1/4" slices lengthwise
Spectrum coconut oil spray
  1. Spray your nonstick frying pan with a light layer of coconut oil and heat to medium.  Toss in the slices of avocado and saute, flipping them periodically, until a light gold crisps the edges.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Re-spray the pan with a little more coconut oil (or use butter depending on preference and health concerns - although you're eating a grilled cheese sandwich so I assume health isn't your primary focus in constructing a meal) and place on high heat.
  3. Slather the miracle whip on one side of each piece of bread, and place one, miracle whip side down, into the pan once it has heated up.  Immediately drop the temperature to low heat.  
  4. Sprinkle or lay your cheese onto the first piece of bread, and top with the second, miracle whip side facing upward. The first side will take on the order of 5 minutes or so.  During this time watch some hulu or wash some dishes. 
  5. Once the bottom half of the cheese begins to melt, it's ready to flip.  At this stage, the bread shouldn't be golden, merely a little shiny and softer.  Repeat this melting process on the second side, but don't flip again until the bottom side is a golden brown.  This should be faster than the first half.
  6. Once you're back to your original side, grab some tongs or use your fingers to peel up the top piece of bread.  Layer your lightly sauteed avocado in the cheese.  Allow the sandwich to cook until the first side browns to match the second.  
  7. Remove from heat, cut in half and serve! (I enjoyed mine with some mango salsa!)
Avocado Grilled Cheese

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