But these are matters of convenience and reliability; what’s most important are the results, which are not like any grilled cheese that butter could make. The oil and egg in mayonnaise brown and crisp more evenly and lavishly than butter, creating a glossy crunch from edge to edge.
Hamilton’s recipe — like so much of the honest, happy food she serves at her restaurant Prune — is a comforting balance of high and low: extra-sharp cheddar spilling out of good bread, plus mayo in a jar.
She's also known to serve sardines and Triscuits on the same menu as chicken liver mousse with Cognac jelly, and to drop Knorr bouillon cubes in the vegetable soup she makes for Christmas Eve. She serves that soup with expensive Champagne — not a bad idea here either.
From Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune Restaurant, via CHOW
Makes 10 sandwiches
20 (1/2-inch-thick) slices rustic bread (from about 1 1/2 loaves)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pound shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 300 degrees, and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place half of the bread slices on a work surface and spread with half of the mayonnaise. Flip the bread slices over and evenly divide the cheese among the slices.
Spread the remaining bread slices with the remaining mayonnaise and place them mayonnaise-side up over the cheese to form 10 sandwiches.
Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat until hot, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place 2 to 3 of the sandwiches in the pan and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, about 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and cook until the second sides are golden brown and the cheese is completely melted, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
When all the sandwiches are cooked, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool 1 to 2 minutes before cutting each sandwich in half.
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: http://food52.com/blog/10792-gabrielle-hamilton-s-grilled-cheese-sandwiches
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