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Grilled Cheese Heaven

May 22, 2012

= Grilled Cheese Heaven

One of the highlights at this year’s 5 BORO PICNYC is the Jarlsberg Grilled Cheese Cook-Off, with a first prize win of Lodge seasoned/cast iron skillet set plus cookbook, a 22lb wheel of Jarlsberg and Sur La Table gift card (together, a $500 value).  Runner-up will be awarded a Calphalon slicing/grating kit plus contemporary cutlery, a maple butcher block and Sur La Table gift card ($250 value).

Ticket holders win, too, with lots of giveaways happening at the Jarlsberg Pavilion, and plenty of tasty grilled cheese sandwich samples.

Did you know there’s an art to making great grilled cheese?  Here’s a simple guideline:

  • Brush the tops of your bread with ultra soft or melted unsalted butter for even cooking.
  • Using quality bread—like NY Handmade Breads—is important,
  • If using semi-soft to firm cheese, shred or grate while it’s cold (easier to handle); grated cheese (when it’s at room temperature) cooks quicker, too.
  • After the first “flip,” press with a tool (like a spatula) to get that crispy, golden-brown crust.
  • Always cook on a medium-low heat.

And cooking grilled cheese over coals has its own unique challenges.  Lodge Cast Iron offers a few tips:

Cook when coals are at a medium to medium-low heat.  Embers are good, though for extended cooking sessions you’ll need to add a limited amount of coals to keep it going.  Oil or butter? Hands-down, butter is better!

To whet your appetite, here are some gooey-delicious combinations to consider:

• Jarlsberg with ham, pickles and mustard, on rye.

• Fresh chevre and thin sliced beets (roasted in balsamic vinegar and honey) on multi-grain bread.

• Brie, with cooked crumbled prosciutto and fig jam, on sourdough.

• Jarlsberg, sautéed onions and mushrooms, on white.

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