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A Punch in the Mouth and Cheese Toasties

June 18, 2010 · 44 comments

in Snacks

Grilled cheese

I know you probably need a recipe for cheese toasties like you need a punch in the mouth but think of this as more of an homage to the simple perfection of them than as a directive and perhaps it will be easier to swallow (see what I did there?! No?…Hmph). Made with pancarré, the thin, crustless Italian sandwich bread for making tramezzini, or with a more robust loaf, a toastie suffuses me with the feeling that all is right with the world. Oozing cheese will do that to a girl.

Deli meat

As kids we always made toasties in a toastie machine which seals the edges but I prefer to make them in a frypan now, it gives me a good excuse to slather yet more butter upon their appealingly blank little bellies (don’t want sticking, what what).

Grilled cheese with ham

For me, the perfect toastie requires four elements, just like the universe (or are there five in the universe? I never can get that straight): bread, butter, cheese and red onion. Omit one and it’s strangely lacking. Particularly if you leave out, say, the bread.

Waitrose cheddar

Also, did you know Americans call them grilled cheese? Grilled cheese! As if there really weren’t any bread. I know this because both my dear and lovely siblings have girlfriends from the U.S. Maybe the etymology stems from the Atkins diet or something?

Cheese toasties

How do you do your toasties?

Cheese Toasties

2 slices of thin white bread

Soft butter

Just enough cheese to cover the bread in one layer, preferably a good crumbly cheddar

Very thinly sliced red onion

Plenty of pepper and if it’s a mild cheese, plenty of salt

Ham, if you want to gild the lily

Heat a frypan over medium-low heat and assemble the sandwiches with the cheese and onion, pepper (and salt if using) within.

Butter the outside of the sandwiches generously.

Fry until golden on both sides.

Cut into 4 triangles (important).

Print this recipe

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charleschr June 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm

As long as I’ve been alive, they’ve been “grilled cheese.” But I’ve never actually seen one done on a grill, go figure.

For mine, I melt butter in a cast iron pan instead of putting it on the bread. I also tend to use really thick sourdough bread and a spicy, delicious but easy to find (around here at least) cheese from Vermont: Cabot Creamery’s Hot Habanero Cheddar. Sometimes I also put a little fresh grated parmagiano reggiano on the outside of the bread so that it toasts up and gets some cheese flavor on all sides of the bread.

Now you’ve got me all hungry!

sasa June 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Charleschr! Popped your comment cherry and all! Even though I doubt anyone ever calls you that in real life, to me, you will always and forever remain Charleschr. Even if we meet. Hot Habanero Cheddar, I like the sounds of that.

charleschr June 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm

The grilled cheese/cheese toasty is too good to limit to 140 characters :).

And actually, most people in real life call me Chuck. But I’ll answer to anything remotely recognizable really. Sometimes even “Hey you!” does the trick.

Nigel June 19, 2010 at 1:34 am

I was half-expecting a post about how you got caught up in a fight at a pub, & used the molten cheese in your toastie to blindside your opponents – I’d have been impressed! This is the best way to make toasties; I’d been taught by an American friend to make them this way, too.

sasa June 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

That also happened.

Carolyn Jung June 19, 2010 at 2:31 am

I like mine with a little smear of mustard, too. Brings it all together into major deliciousness. ;)

beebs June 19, 2010 at 4:10 am

grilled cheese! grilled cheese! so yummy with a side of tomato soup!! and i like mine with swiss, gouda, pepper and a ton of butter too.

Aparna June 19, 2010 at 5:32 am

Didn’t know these were called grilled cheese. To us they’re toasties too.
Love them but prefer them made in the electric toastie thingummy! :D

We especially like them filled with spiced mashed potato and pea curry.

sallyismycat June 19, 2010 at 7:39 am

This Toastie, as you apparently refer to Grilled cheese sandwiches as, looks delicious.
And what of the crust?

sasa June 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The bread comes without a crust!

flo June 19, 2010 at 10:42 am

my cheese is your cheese.

Vanessa June 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

Ooh, this takes me back to my childhood days and teatime after swimming club when I was starving. I still like to eat them with my Dad when I visit my old town. Cheese is my favourite although I used to add a bit of tuna for variety.

tasteofbeirut June 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I think it is a universal treat! Would love it now and used to have them on a daily basis as a kid after school.

Des June 19, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I’ve never tried this before. It looks great.

Kitchen Butterfly June 20, 2010 at 12:02 am

And there I was considering buying a sandwich maker. I like….this, very much!

Katie June 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

Crips bacon is nice, too…. and, speaking from my old American self (I now live in France) there’s always a ‘Grilled Peanut Butter and Bacon’
But red onion…. I think I need to try that.
When I was a child I ordered a ‘Toasted Cheese Sandwich’ rather than ‘Grilled cheese’ I got a cold cheese sandwich on toast…bleh!

sasa June 20, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Woah, who knew I’d get such a reaction about toasties! Thanks for sharing all your stories and ideas *^_^*

rich - them apples June 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hey! Have you been in my fridge? That’s my cheese, there. Wondered where it’d gone.

I use one of those dead cheap machine things for mine. I like the patterns, and the slightly burnt and overdone edges. Yum.

H June 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Mmmm… I’ve been eating cheese toasties all week because they slide down so easy when you have a sore throat (all that fat!). And they are, of course, one of the ultimate comfort foods.
Thick, fresh grain bread (for extra texcha!), whole egg mayo, chilli sauce, and vintage chedder. Single slice, under the griller – which I guess technically makes then grilled cheese…

breadetbutter June 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Ooooh never thought of making toasties in a pan, I always use my trusty toastie maker! Haven’t had them in a while though, so thank you for the reminder. :)

I like eating my toasties with lots of cheese and some chilli tuna (this canned tuna thing I get from home).

Sophie June 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

This is like a Croque Monsieur, as we say here in Belgium!!

MMMMMM,..a plate of fine foods!

Marietta June 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

I make mine in a toast machine thing, the one that squeezes the edges of the bread.. I put cheese, thin slices of tomato and boiled egg… of course butter on the bread but also some mustard… side plate any kind of soup in the winter and salad during summer…

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

Your toastie looks great! I butter the outside like you do. It makes all the difference :)

Glenn June 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Your toasties look great! Grilled cheese is (are?) one of my favorite go-to sammies for those nights that I can’t figure out what to cook. Lots of variations, but generally I like ‘em on sourdough with at least 2 kinds of cheese, depending on what’s in the fridge. Sliced tomato and onion for sure-crispy bacon is a great add-on. or thin sliced ham.
Here’s a wicked good site with pics to match-

sasa June 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I actually thought of you when I posted this because didn’t you post about toasties a while back?

Glenn June 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Yup-good stuff-and you gotta have tomato soup with them.

cozydelicious June 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Yum! There is nothing better. I agree about the cheddar, too – always cheddar. Sometimes I add a huge slice of ripe tomato to mine – it makes it a bit soggy, but the flavor is so worth it! My all-time favorite, though, is cheddar, bacon, and thin slices of apple, with cranberry chutney. Amazing.

catty June 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I will have you know that my perfect toastie has FIVE elements, just like the universe! Agree with your four, and mine has an extra splodge of ketchup. OH yes, magical ketchup. *heart*

SMITH BITES June 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Have never heard the term ‘toasties’ but love, love, love grilled cheese – one of our favorites in this house! We make ours with a good sourdough or other artisan bread and usually mix cheese – fontina, mozzarella and cheddar; add a bit of mustard and a couple leaves of basil – YUM!

Eurasian Sensation June 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

Since I often eat cheese toasties in the morning when in a rush, I keep things simple – cheese and bread.

Sounds boring, perhaps… the key, though, is for both of these to be good quality. Decent cheddar, and crusty bread with nice texture. Plastic cheese on plain white bread won’t do it.

gastroanthropologist June 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I’m having grilled cheese tonight (never knew what a toastie was until I moved to London). I always have it on buttered dark rye bread, strong cheddar, heaps of grainy mustard, and bread+butter pickles.

Will definitely consider ham and red onion next time around. Catty’s ketchup…I love ketchup. I eat french fries merely as a vehicle to eat ketchup. I can’t believe I had not dunked grilled cheese, I mean toasty, in ketchup.

Tupper June 23, 2010 at 3:08 am

I did a Toastie Post- thanks for the inspiration!

Liam O'Malley June 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Yes! Love this post. I’ve never heard them called toasties either, rather the standard American grilled cheese.

I’m actually doing a post soon on some different grilled cheese options. My favorite is kind of complex – fontina cheese, red wine steak, proscuitto, and fresh basil. Yum. So good. June 24, 2010 at 11:13 pm

The Grilled Cheese title does not come from Atkins, as that was created in only the 2000′s and Grilled Cheese have been around longer than I’ve been (1982). I believe the correct name is Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, meaning, it’s a cheese sandwich with grilled bread. However, since Americans are lazy, the name has become known as simply Grilled Cheese.

Makes more sense, doesn’t it?

This is way more yummy version, however. I LOVE English white cheddar. I love Canadian White Cheddar, more (Balderson’s cheese? YES PLEASE!) though.

This looks aamazing; I would cook it, but I’m vegetarian. And also my husby wants us to go vegan because of my lupus killing me lately. :( June 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Also, I found another recipe for another take on GCS.

Add the sandwich meat, as you have. Dip the bread in egg batter, and you have grilled cheese French toast. Eat with syrup as normal. It sounds totally gross, but it is SO delicious!

sasa June 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

It sounds *awesome* Except for the syrup part. French toast anything, bring it on.

peasepudding June 27, 2010 at 3:45 am

Glad to see you used English Cheddar, toasties need a nice cheese that can hold it own :o)

Sara October 27, 2010 at 10:27 am

I know this is an old post as of now, but I couldn’t resist commenting anyhow… I laughed out loud when I read what you said about Americans calling this “grilled cheese.” :) Strangely enough, that term is rather regional, as when I moved from Chicago to rural Indiana for university, I was the one laughed at for saying “grilled cheese sandwich” (yes, I said all three words) instead of “cheese toasties!” Apparently those Indiana folk have the same term as you. Ha.

On another note – one of my favorite ways to eat this is using cinnamon raisin swirl bread and a nice sharp or red cheddar. It’s sweet and salty, just the way I like it.

Sasa October 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Well I still read comments wherever they are!

Melissa@HomeBaked January 13, 2011 at 5:15 am

I was doing some research (on the germknodel!) when I stumbled across this post. Just had to comment–I grew up with “cheese toasties,” since much of my family is from rural Indiana. Everyone else I’ve met in Chicago and elsewhere calls it “grilled cheese.” So I’m glad to know that so many people around the world are familiar with the toastie, too!

Sasa January 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

Go the toastie!

Sam November 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

Just tried this with mature cheddar, onions and heaps of Lurpak butter. I must say it was incredibly tasty. Before reading this i would have never thought of frying it. Great idea!

su December 2, 2010 at 11:17 pm

i would have this with heinz tomato ketchup, so that will make for the fifth element :)

Vada February 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Yum yum yum… I love cheese toasties – I get my cheese from Waitrose too. I go to my sister’s place as she has a new toastie maker, as I over-used mine! We have cheese and onion with a sprinkle of pepper, I’ve made tuna mayo ones too but it doesn’t beat cheese! It’s definitely a comfort food and I am obsessed with melted cheese at the moment. My auntie use to do them all the time and my cousin would eat one everyday. Yum.

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