The sandwich is sublime, and memorable, without an ounce of try-hard. Like my favourite shirt, I could eat it every day of the week, but instead break it out with the infrequency to keep it special.
This sandwich, for me, will always be a classic. It's effortless, yet impressive. Simple, while still totally indulgent. It's a laid back, unpretentious grilled cheese, with sophistication. Like the sandwich equivalent of linen. It's also a top shelf idea for any occasion, any company. It's my take on a sandwich I used to order all the time at my favourite food spot in Toronto. On lazy days, or days, I would head out across Trinity Bellwoods park, visit the small galleries down the Ossington strip, then hang a left, and head for my favourite park-adjacent brunch hangout. It's got a classic, 50s diner layout, but none of the kitch. It boasts an all teak bar, with crystal glassware shelved behind, a vintage beverage fridge, and an open-air oyster icebox. The booths are small and intimate, each with a tall coat stand, that serves as a canopy in the cold months, with so many coats. The menu is short, and very carefully chosen. It's the kind of place I couldn't afford at night, but my friends and I used to frequent the brunch menu. We'd get a few dishes, share them around. It's simple food, done with an instinctual flourish. My favourite was their grilled cheese with bartlett pear, served with a chilli tomato compote, and a side of olives. It was a ritual I'd do when I needed out of a funk, or any time I'd have an out of town visitor. That, and a walk back through the park, could cure anything.
One time, I brought a guy I had just started dating, he said it was the place his friend always brought girls to break up, and there ever after, squirmed when I suggested going. Why someone would sour such a perfect place, I don't know. Or maybe it was so he'd never run into them there? Long game? Douchy, but possibly genius? Anyway, this is getting off topic. This sandwich is golden.
Sidenote time: to my sandwich friends, and the casually curious. You may recognize this post. This sandwich post gets the honour of being my first official remake! I'm so happy to be bringing you a better, tastier, more visually delectable version of what previously inhabited this permalink. Why? A few years ago, Buzzfeed made a list of 40 amazing grilled cheese sandwich recipes in celebration of national grilled cheese day, and fortuitously or what, linked to one of my all time favourite sandwiches, a classic grilled cheese with pear. Anyway, this 3 year old post still gets traffic, so I figured I'd honour it with a little remake. Here's the better, badder, cheesier improvement of one of my all time best sandwiches.
What's in it:
What's in it:
bread (Queen St Gluten Free Bakery white bean and millet seed)
red anjou pear
OKA swiss (from The Hogtown Cure)
raw Brie de Meaux (from Grain, Curd & Bean)
raw creamed honey
Mustard grain, spread over a layer of raw creamed honey. Gives the sandwich some complexity, and sweetness.
Pan fry the garlic on a low heat, in butter. Spread over the bread. Baby basil leaves from my favourite perpetually dying houseplant. The basil was kind of an afterthought, but I'm gonna go ahead and say you cannot overlook it.
Beautifully ripe Brie. It's creamy, but has attack, and lingers. And it's kind of the perfect cheese for melting. This one's called Bried de Maux, and it's a raw cow's milk Brie from France. It's delicious. Top shelf cheese for sure.
Thinly sliced red anjou pear. I originally made this with bartlett, I really don't think it matters, but the anjou does keep a bit firmer.
I shredded the mesclun because, don't you hate biting into a sandwich, and having all the stuff slip out? Me too.
OKA swiss. Swiss just has this airyness about it no other cheese offers. And I'm not talking about the holes. It's sharp, but light. It's a no brainer cheese that will always be good, and goes with pretty much anything. Definitely ate a few slices during assembly.
Generously butter that bread. If you're going to make a grilled cheese, you've gotta go all the way. This is supposed to be indulgent. If it's not going to end up crispy, you may as well eat a bowl of cereal instead.
Fry it in a pan on a medium heat, a few minutes a side. Slice, and marvel.
Crispy, crispy bread, gooey cheese, and firm, fruity pear.
Stack it high and proud.
To be honest, I usually let sandwiches go cold getting a zillion photos, but I'm getting way impatient.