[Photo Credit: Cabot Cheese]
Attention all grilled cheese lovers! Did you know that National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day is April 12th? This unofficial holiday gives you yet another reason to enjoy all that is delicious about this longtime favorite. These golden, crispy and cheesy sandwiches are quick to assemble, easy to make, and so satisfying to nosh on. What better way to celebrate than to host the ultimate party where you can create a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches to enjoy with friends and family!
Plan your party with these five simple tips:
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CHEESE.
Select cheeses with a wide range of flavor profiles, but be sure they are “melt worthy.” Traditional American cheese is the top choice for most because of its very low melting point. Mozzarella, Gruyere, fontina, provolone and manchego are all great choices. Cheddar cheese is also a favorite because it packs in more of a bold flavor, but note that it won’t brown or melt as quickly as American cheese.
- THE CHEW FACTOR.
Bread is what gives the sandwich the right “chew.” Offer 4-5 kinds of bread for your guests to choose from. In addition to the traditional sliced white or whole wheat bread, try adding more varieties to the mix. Crispy, fresh French bread sliced thinly, a seedy, multi-grain loaf, sourdough bread, or even rye bread, ciabatta or brioche buns are all great options.
- BUTTER UP!
The traditional way to make a grilled cheese sandwich is to butter the outsides of the bread before placing it in the pan, but for even more flavor, you can butter both sides! Whichever type of butter you choose such as, salted, unsalted, grass-fed, or clarified (Ghee butter), be sure to offer a variety of these crowd-pleasers at your party. They will all yield an undeniably golden, crispy sandwich.
- ALL THE FIXIN'S.
Here’s where the fun really begins… In addition to spreading on butter, allow guests to further customize their sandwich. Line your kitchen island up with spreads like pesto sauce, marinara sauce, hummus, guacamole, Dijon or spicy whole grain brown mustard, or even some hot sauce. Toppings to add to the mix could include caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, arugula, spinach, roasted red peppers, crispy bacon, avocados, pickles and fresh herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro or chives. The options are endless!
- SET THE STAGE.
This kind of casual party is perfect for small-space entertaining, because it does not involve a sit-down meal. Let people move around to mingle as they graze over all the grilled cheese sandwiches being made. Place plates and napkins out, and cut the sandwiches in half or even quarters so that guests have the option to try multiple sandwiches. You can display the sandwiches on various cutting boards or tray baskets lined with napkins. Labeling is always a good idea too so guests know what’s in each sandwich.
American Dairy Association North East is one of 19 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.