Grilled Double Cheddar Cheese with Whole Grain Mustard & Prosciutto Chips Uh-Huh!

Grilled cheddar cheese sandwich with prosciutto chipsSo I am finally getting ready to use mustard as condiment on (gasp!) a sandwich and as usual KCRWs Good Food beats me to the punch!

Okay. I think I need to stop listening to KCRW’s Good Food (nah, I don’t really mean that).  Somehow Evan Kleiman got inside my head again. I don’t know how she does that. It’s weird.

As you may know I am still working my way through a group of posts that I am building around mustard. The hills near my house are still pulsating with golden yellow wild mustard and I find myself thinking about it on my morning walks.

Not that mustard is all I think about. I have also been reading Grilled Shane lately and was looking for a way to pay tribute the chuckles I experience when I read his blog. If you know Grilled Shane then you know he blogs nothing but grilled cheese. You think I have a one-track mind? Go visit him.

Now I have always loved mustard on my grilled cheese sandwiches. I somehow assumed this was an unusual combination. Until recently I was the only person I knew who ate them this way.

Grilled Cheese Oozing onto the PlateGrilled Cheese Oozing onto the PlateSo for my mustard tribute (and as a nod to Shane) I had planned to do a grilled cheese with mustard recipe. I have been working out the details in my head all week.

Friday night I was volunteering for GLAAD at the Dinah Shore event in Palm Springs. So on Saturday I am driving back from the desert listening to Good Food. Annie Miller from Clementine restaurant is a guest on the show.

Well coincidence #1: she tells me “April is Grilled Cheese Month”. 

Grilled Cheese Month? I’ve never heard of that. Did she make it up or is it a National Holiday? Whichever, she had my attention.

It turns out Ms. Miller likes mustard on her grilled cheese sandwiches too! She likes the “cheap yellow mustard” and prefers someone to make her grilled cheese sandwiches for her (well, la-dee-da). She also likes them with ham and something pickley.

I had already decided I was doing a straightforward grilled cheese sandwich. Nothing but good cheese and the right mustard. 

My tribute is to mustard and I do not want anything to steal its thunder. So no, I would not be posting the sandwich the way she likes it best. But if she calls I’ll make her one however she wants.

But it got me thinking. She is right about sweet, salty cured pork and grilled cheese. It is a fabulous combination. She is also correct with the pickle pairing. You can’t eat grilled cheese with out a pickle. You just can’t…

Oven Dried Prosciutto & CornichonsOven Dried Prosciutto & CornichonsSo I am going to present my sandwich with crispy oven dried prosciutto “chips” and cornichons—on the side. It will round out the taste experience and make this meal work on several levels. So thanks Annie for that inspiration.

Because I am doing this sandwich in its purest sense I need to choose just the right cheese and just the right mustard. 

Typically I prefer the more nuanced mustards like Dijon. They can be quite hot, I don’t mind that. They can even be herby. But when pairing a Dijon with cheese I think I would choose a more delicate variety.

So I was seriously considering doing a grilled cheese with a savory
French Port Salut. Which is a semi-soft pasteurized cow’s milk cheese originally from Monks in  Entrammes, France. It’s very mild but has an acidic kick. It pairs nicely with a traditional Dijon and it is just great on rye bread.

That would be a heck of fancy grilled cheese don’t ya think? But I can just see my mother. Her eyes squinted, brows furrowed, Campbell’s Tomato Soup in hand, not really approving of the idea of rye bread and grilled cheese (even with pastrami, I know. I know!).

So I’d have to come up with something else.

Another cheese I think pairs well with mustard is Le Berger Basque. It is a raw sheep’s milk cheese with a sweet nutty, herbal quality. You might even say grassy. 

But in truth, I think I am getting a little too “pissy” here. My pants are getting wet. This is not the time to show off my ridiculously astute palate.

a big bite of a grilled cheese sandwichGrilled Cheese, Greg. Grilled Cheese.

Which in truth means cheddar. A big, sharp yellow cheese. So I choose a double-cheddar from Gloucester. Which means no Dijon today. This calls for bold mustard with a good degree of heat. 

Something from England or Scotland. Fortunately I have to look no further than my pantry because I always have good old Coleman’s Whole Grain Mustard in the house. It’s not right for everything. But it’s right for this.

I am not going to tell you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I am sure you have your own special method and you should stick to it. Or head over to KCRW I think they have directions on making it with an iron. Whatever…

But one thing (more) I will say, per Annie Miller, I used sliced English Muffin Loaf Bread because I liked the way Annie described how well butter gets into the little nooks and crannies. Because butter is what gives the bread its crunchy structure. We need that structure to (somewhat) hold the ooey-gooey melted cheddar mess inside the sandwich!

Like I said I am serving mine with cornichons and crisp prosciutto chips. If you want to see how I made the prosciutto chips click here.

You can buy the cornichons. I am obsessed but I am not certifiable!


Greg Henry