A grilled cheese sandwich paired with a cup of tomato basil soup screams comfort -- like slipping a great pair of flannel pajamas on a snowy evening. According to food historians, cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food and is popular worldwide. However, the American version showed up in the 1920s and became popular during the Great Depression because sliced bread and cheese were inexpensive and easily available.
The grilled cheese sandwich was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice was added by the 1960s. Did you know that in 1994, a National Cheese Sandwich Week was created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the grilled cheese sandwich? Cheesie was the official mascot, and he was the leader of the Sandwich Gang--four cartoon sandwiches.
Good ol' American nostalgia has inspired the increase of grilled cheese sandwich shops nationwide and north Fort Worth is no different. Lee's Grilled Cheese, located at 5040 N. Tarrant Pkwy (76244) offers cheese classics and the option to "build your own" sandwich. Ingredient choices include: black forest ham, pulled pork, sliced avocado, grilled pineapples, carmelized onions, granny smith apples, havarti and salami -- just to name a few. A tomato mozzarrella sandwich starts at $5.49.
Unity One Credit Union North Tarrant branch employees, Amanda and Cherise, rave about the tomato basil dipping cup that you can get with your sandwich and the black forest ham.
Want to save money and cook yourself up a sandwich at home first? Here's a great grilled cheese sandwich recipe, courtesy of the Food Network.
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices country-style sourdough bread
12 ounces Monterey jack, farmhouse Cheddar, Gruyere, or imported Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 slices smoked bacon, cooked and broken into 1-inch pieces,
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced, and drained on paper towels for 5 minutes, or
8 slices baked ham
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Place 4 slices of bread on a cutting board and generously butter the top sides of each slice. Melt another tablespoon of the butter in the skillet; swirl around to coat the pan.
Lay 2 slices of bread, buttered side down, in the skillet. Put a few slices of the cheese on the bread. Lay the bacon, tomato, or ham on top of the cheese. Cover with a few more slices of cheese. Top with 2 of the remaining slices of bread, placed buttered-side up. Cook, without pressing, until the bread browns and the cheese is slightly melted, about 5 minutes. Turn the sandwiches with a spatula and add a small hazelnut-size piece of butter to the pan. Cook slowly, adjusting the heat as needed to melt the cheese completely before the sandwiches are brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Repeat with the other 2 sandwiches. Serve.