One of the best things about London’s street food scene is that items previously considered trashy are being elevated to new gastronomic heights by passionate young entrepreneurs. It’s happened to burgers, hot dogs, mac and cheese, poutine, and now the humble grilled cheese sandwich is getting the attention it finally deserves.
It’s no secret I have an overwhelming passion for cheese. So when I heard about Morty and Bobs grilled cheese sandwiches at Netil Market in East London, I had to go see for myself. They offer a classic ‘Straight Up’, a three-cheese blend with ‘M&B cheese sauce’ spiked with mixed alliums, through to an eight-hour pulled pork version with a homemade BBQ sauce. It’s fair to say they have concocted an epic recipe after days of researching the perfect formula. (Now’s that a project I wouldn’t have minded being a part of!)
Charlie and Jesse – the team behind this enterprise – shared tonnes of tips for making the perfect cheese sarnie in my Evening Standard column last week. But alas, due to the limited space we had to miss out some of their brilliant nuggets of advice. So here are their top tips for creating the perfect grilled cheese sandwich:
Butter the outside
Spread the outside with butter – it will make the sandwich nice and crispy. If you want to take it up a notch, infuse the butter; melt in a pan and add garlic/rosemary or whatever you fancy. Once on the grill/pan use a pastry brush to brush the outside, flip, repeat.
We use a half white/half wholemeal sourdough. Crusty edges add a nice crunch. Make sure your slices aren’t too thick, it will take a long time to grill/melt if they are. If using a tin/basket free bake like us (i.e. no tin to guide its shape) be sure NOT to use holey slices, which may occur while proving, otherwise your filling will fall through.
The cheese is really important. Obvs. Using more than one cheese and layering will add much more depth and take it to the next level. Texture and most importantly, flavour, are key. We use a blend of three cheeses all sourced from Neals Yard Dairy.
– You don’t want the grill too hot. The butter will burn before the cheese melts. You want a medium heat which will slowly crisp up the edges whilst gently melting the cheese inside.
– Keep an eye on it! As soon as the cheese has melted it’s time to take it off the heat. Melted cheese is good, scorching, molten hot cheese will melt out of the sandwich and most likely burn your tongue and lose its flavour.
– We use a beefed up flat plate contact grill (like a panini press) but all our testing is done on a flat plate Breville which is great. If you haven’t got one of these, don’t worry – a seasoned frying pan also works a treat.
P.S. We add Marmite to the Straight Up for free if people want… it rocks… if you love Marmite.
If, like me, you’re a fan of melting, gooey cheese check out my Mont D’or fondue recipe.
Check out this profile of the cheesemonger at Androuet in London’s Spitalfields Market – one of my favourite places to stock up on cheese!
Love this list of grilled cheese combos on BuzzFeed – yum!