A few weeks ago, I wrote about grilled cheese sandwiches. The feedback was impressive; I received more comments on that post than any other. Go figure! And I have to say, you guys inspired me. There were so many creative suggestions for different types of grilled cheese I decided I’d have to give some of them a try. Thus, the Great Grilled Cheese Experiment of 2012 was born.
The truth is, I was itching for an excuse to do something fun like this. Over the years, I’ve taken a scientific approach to figuring out some of the mysteries of daily life. In fact, I sometimes think of myself as the unofficial third MythBuster. Adam, Jamie and Mark. Has a nice ring to it, no? (And yes, I get that there are other people on the show who could already lay claim to that title. Humor me here, okay?). In the past, I have tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk; held a blind ketchup taste test; and grown mold in the back of the refrigerator. That last one was unintentional, but whatever. With such a storied pedigree in my blood, the idea of whipping up a bunch of these sandwiches and seeing which one was best appealed to me. Once I mentioned it to Tara, she was on board, too. So I went to the store to stock up on a variety of different cheeses and breads, and on Monday the two of us prepared four different sandwiches, all taken from comments left on my blog post. The contenders were:
- Pear and brie on rye, as mentioned by The Edmonton Tourist.
- Havarti, swiss and brown mustard on wheat, as mentioned by my friend Jonna at Read Between The Whines.
- Mild cheddar and colby on white bread and dipped in salsa, suggested by Tara’s mom, Tracy.
- Mozzarella and sharp cheddar on rye, courtesy of a woman who goes by the moniker SoCalGal.
The sandwiches were all quite different from my go-to sharp cheddar on white, and Tara and I were eager to try them all. So, come lunch time, we fired up the Foreman Grill (a wonderful device for preparing grilled cheese – actually, that’s the only thing I ever use it for), and commenced to sampling the four varieties. Surprisingly (or maybe not, since we are so in tune with each other already and are quite the perfect match), she and I not only agreed on the winner, but also the exact order of the four sandwiches sampled.
First up was the pear and brie on rye. The cheese was creamy and the sweetness of the pear perfectly contrasted it, as well as provided a nice crunch, giving it some much-needed textural variety. We found the rye to be a bit overpowering, however. Perhaps a different bread would work better?
Next up was the havarti, swiss and brown mustard on wheat. We were both somewhat leery of the mustard, not being fans of anything with the word “poupon” in it, but actually this condiment provided a nice tang, and the dual cheeses melted together perfectly. The sandwich was tasty, though the mustard did, indeed, claim dominance.
Our third sandwich was the mozzarella and sharp cheddar on rye. Again, the cheeses melted together beautifully and I’m already a sucker for sharp cheddar. And again, the rye bread was a little overwhelming.
Last up was Tracy’s mild cheddar and colby on white. A classic combination, made unique with the addition of a side of salsa. We did half cheddar, half colby jack, in order to try both. What can I say? Every bite was delicious.
So, who was the big winner? The plates speak for themselves…
Congratulations to Tracy for the winning sandwich! I was somewhat surprised with the result, figuring one of the more exotic combinations would take the prize (really, there is no prize other than bragging rights, to be technical), but wouldn’t you know it, the simple sandwich on white bread appealed to our taste buds the most. I especially enjoyed dipping it in the salsa; this gave it a nice, tangy kick that elevated the sandwich above the others.
Tara and I enjoyed the challenge so much, we’re thinking there may be another round in the future. We’ve already received suggestions for other grilled cheese sandwiches that sound good and worthy of sampling. Maybe we can turn this into a Sweet 16-style elimination tournament with one eventual grand prize winner. The things we do in the name of science, kids!
Have you ever had a similar food challenge? What tempts your palate and teases your taste buds most? And, for crying out loud, have you ever tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk and had success?? I’m 0 for 2 there.
- Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich (123beta.com)
- In Praise of The Grilled Cheese Sandwich (theisleofguile.wordpress.com)