My ultimate grilled cheese contains salty cheddar (lots of it!), sweet caramelised onions, meaty biltong shavings, and piquant jalapeño – this ain’t no 90’s snackwich! YOUR ultimate grilled cheese may differ, but this will definitely place in your top three at least.
One friend had this to say about my grilled cheese: “You know when you have a snackwich and you take one bite and all the good, gooey middle part is gone? This is like all middle part!”
Because a grilled cheese is such a simple thing of beauty, the quality of your ingredients make a difference. Try get some really delicious bread from an artisan baker, or even just from a grocer that offers some good home baked loaves. The same goes for your cheese – a mature, sharp cheddar works best for me, especially when paired with sweet onions. I serve my grilled cheese with some lightly dressed rocket, but you could definitely skip that if you wanted to.
The grilled cheese is one of the most indulgent, simplest forms of getting your molten cheese fix. Skip the fast food on Friday night and opt for this instead!
How to make my ultimate grilled cheese
- 5 red onions sliced
- Generous knob of butter
- 5 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- Bread loaf of choice
- 500g good quality mature sharp cheddar
- Approximately R80 worth of wet shaved beef biltong
- Pickled jalapeños (I always have a jar in my fridge)
- 100 g fresh rocket (optional)
- Olive oil and fresh lemon juice to dress (optional)
1. Heat a saucepan to medium heat with a glug of olive oil and saute onions.
2. Once onions have gone soft, reduce heat to medium-low and throw in a generous knob of butter and continue to saute for a few minutes until onions soften further and butter melts and incorporates.
3. Now add balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan, increase heat to medium again, and allow balsamic to reduce and caramelise for a further 20 – 30 minutes until onions are soft, sticky, and purplish-brown in colour. Season and set aside for use later.
4. Heat a grill pan (or regular pan) to medium high, slice bread, and butter one side of each slice of bread.
5. Prepare your sandwiches by thickly slicing your cheese, and laying it on your bread with the buttered side on the outside.
6. I like to alternate layers of cheese and onions, so first place your cheese down, then some onion, followed by biltong, jalapeños, more onion, and lastly, more cheese. The amount of each that you use depends on the thickness of your bread. That bread-to-filling ratio is important!
7. Place sandwiches buttered side down in the pan and leave on one side until cheese begins to melt and bread becomes a toasty dark brown. Flip onto the other side and repeat until cheese is molten.
8. If you’d like a refreshing side salad, dress some rocket leaves in olive oil and lemon juice. This works to cut through the richness of the grilled cheese. If you’re opposed to greens in such a setting, feel free to skip it.