Ever since watching the hit American comedy movie 'Chef' with Jon Favreau, we've seen toasted or 'grilled' cheese sandwiches in a whole new light.
At the very end of the film, it actually shows Jon (the actor / pretend chef) being trained by an experienced food consultant chef, who is showing him exactly what to do. It certainly took some practice, so don't worry if you don't get it quite right straight away.
If you've got a sandwich toaster, then that makes this recipe super easy, but we much prefer this method, which involves a frying pan and loads of strong cheese, such as mature Cheddar, parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) and Gruyere - if you have any.
Some nice, fresh, thick-sliced white ciabatta or tiger bread is perfect for this recipe, although wholemeal bread is fine if you are looking to make these yummy sandwiches just a little bit more on the healthy side.
Two slices of white bread (medium thickness)
1/2 cup of grated cheese (more if you are feeling in a particularly cheesy mood)
Some thin slices of red onions or spring onions (optional, as much as you like)
Pinch of dried herbs
Butter or margarine
Vegetable oil (such as rapeseed oil, which has a higher burning point than olive oil)
Spread the margarine and butter onto one side of the slices of bread. This will form the outside fried crust, not the inside of the sandwich as it usually does.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to a medium heat and swirl a small amount of cooking oil evenly over the surface. Now, add one slice of bread, butter side down, placing your slices of red onion onto the bread. Quickly pile your grated cheese onto the top, sprinkle on the dried herbs, and turn the heat down slightly.
Place the second slice of bread on top, with the buttered side facing up, to form a kind of cheese sandwich, pushing it down firmly. Cook for around three minutes, or until golden brown (be careful that it doesn't burn) and then flip your grilled sandwich over to cook the other side for a few minutes. This is an important part of the recipe, because it is easy to burn the bread, so don't walk off.
Press down on the grilled cheese sandwich with a spatula to push it together. When both sides are golden brown, the cheese should be nicely melted inside, but if not, turn the heat down to low and carry on flipping the bread every minute or so, until the cheese is ready.
By now, the bottom and the top of the bread should be super crunchy, and the melted cheese should be ready to ooze out of the sides. Slice the sandwich in half - triangles look fancy, and eat while it is still hot and yummy, maybe with a bit of tomato ketchup or brown sauce.