Oh, you guys think you like cheese? You think you like grilling that cheese? You fakes. You great pretenders. I look on your offerings of dairy and bread on this National Grilled Cheese Day and I laugh.
The truly devout followers of our Great Lord Cheesus know that he is not content with some basic American cheese on whole wheat on his highest of holy days. Nay, on this, his feast day, he demands utter devotion, complete commitment, unwavering adulation. There is no room for grains, or butter, or weakness.
There is but only room for cheese.
So I made a grilled cheese out of nothing but cheese.
WHAT MAKES A GRILLED CHEESE?
While I struggle to find a concrete, all-inclusive definition of a sandwich, I find a grilled cheese to be far easier to ascertain. A standard grilled cheese consists of bread, cheese, and butter. While a significant, surprisingly spirited debate about whether or not a grilled cheese can be more than that exists in some of the more zealous corners in the online sandwich community, none can argue that bread, cheese, and butter constitute the most basic of grilled cheeses.
So to make my all-cheese grilled cheese, I needed three cheeses: a bread, a cheese, and a butter.
Is the bread in a grilled cheese part of the appeal, or simply the method of gooey conveyance? Is that butter-saturated piece of toast what this is all about, or is it simply the stage for the sandwich's star?
Whether bread is your grilled cheese's reason for being or simply the way you keep melted cheese of your fingers, its importance cannot be understated. I required a cheese that could stand up to a hot grill plate without losing its form. Something that would both be delicious and keep (too much) hot melted cheese off my fingers.
I picked Halloumi, a thick, Greek cheese made from goat and sheep milk that stands up excellently to heat. It charred beautifully on the grill.
A friend once asked me, "How do you make a good grilled cheese?"
I answered, "Put butter in the pan, butter on the bread, butter on the cheese, and butter on the butter."
He corrected me. "Nope. Put the bread between your butt cheeks to warm it up."
He was a weird guy. The point I'm trying to make is: a grilled cheese needs butter to be a grilled cheese. It is second in importance only to the cheese itself. Melted cheese is gooey, but a grilled cheese needs ooey and gooey, and it's butter that provides the ooeyness that makes the grilled cheese the perfect culinary of comfort that it is.
I needed something soft and spreadable with just a hint of oiliness. Enter Pierre Robert, a spreadable cow's milk cheese from France.
(To be perfectly clear, do not ever eat bread that has been between yours or anyone else's butt cheeks.)
Finally, the point of all of this: the cheese itself. Cheese is... well, it's quite literally the "cheese" in "grilled cheese". It's the, uh... look, if I have to explain to you what purpose cheese does in a grilled cheese, then you probably didn't care all that much about National Grilled Cheese Day in the first place.
I personally love sharp cheeses, and I needed a cheese that would melt well. Enter the badass of the cheese world: Gouda.
Specifically, a crunchy Grand Cru. Delicious stuff.
Putting this thing of beauty together was actually much easier than I expected. The only trick was to melt the gouda separately, as it melts much quicker than the halloumi. I took the easy route and microwaved a thick slice of it.
- Slice a 9 oz block of halloumi in half horizontally, and brush olive oil over the outsides of each half.
- Place on a preheated grill and heat for 3-4 minutes. Check often — once it melts, it won't unmelt, and you need this to retain its consistency. You'll just want some nice char marks.
- Microwave a slice of gouda (~2 oz) for 30 seconds.
- Once your halloumi has reached your desired level of charring, spread roughly 1 oz of Pierre Robert on each slice, then spoon the gouda on one half of the halloumi.
- Using tongs, place the other half of halloumi on top of the gouda.
- Flip the entire cheesey sandwich back and forth a few times to give all the cheese a chance to meld together.
- Remove, slice, and eat immediately. This will start to congeal quickly.
Special Note: This is like half a pound of cheese, guys. Don't eat this all in one sitting by yourself. I still have some in my fridge, I'm going to turn it into appetizers later this week.
I Snapchatted this to my followers. I received responses ranging from "mother of god" to "it's so beautiful" to one person who was greatly concerned for the health of my colon. It was beautiful, and yes, it was a transcendent experience, and worry not — my colon is fine (I ate two bites of it).
Did this expand my understanding of what a sandwich is? No — this isn't a sandwich in the first place. Sandwiches need bread or some sort of carbohydrate, which this has absolutely none of.
Did I learn anything new from this? Sure — halloumi can go right on the grill, a fact I will be taking great advantage of this summer.
What was the point of all this? ...it was fun, and an acceptable tribute to the Great Lord Cheesus. Isn't that reason enough?