By Billy Doucett
One of the final projects for my internship program at the Greenporter Hotel was to write my own blog post for our chef’s seasonal food blog, seasonedfork.com
I would consider myself the least likely candidate to share a recipe but I will share the one thing I can make at home or away at college.
Like myself, there are thousands, or possibly millions, of students that attend universities who would eat fast-food and takeout for as long as their health and budget allowed. If a meal takes 10 to 20 minutes to prepare and cook, compared to waiting 15 minutes for delivery, I guarantee that a student would rather call their favorite delivery spot. Growing up, grilled cheese was a necessity for me. I was an extremely picky eater, but melted cheese between slices of buttery toast was my go-to. Quick and easy, grilled cheese can turn out to be every college students “easy A” in culinary arts.
Unlike myself, my uncle lives for cooking, as well as for preparing every holiday meal for our family since before I was born. He is a towering 6 foot 7 inches tall. When I was young, the only question I had for him was, “How did you get so tall?!” His response was the same each time only with a slight attitude that progressed, “Grilled cheese with tomato slices!” He would always show me how simple it was to make grilled cheese, and informed me of his favorite addition to the classic lunch. My uncle has his own garden with numerous different veggies, and right now, tomatoes are in season.
If you’re not much a green thumb, visit your local farm stand for gorgeous tomatoes like the ones we have been seeing at Sang Lee Farms. And for that college student about to pick up the phone and order takeout, put down that phone and say cheese!
- 2 large beefsteak or other tomatoes
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices sourdough bread or other country-style loaf
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 pound sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated
- 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
Slice tomatoes as thin as possible (a serrated knife works great) and place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Let sit, turning once, until they have released some of their liquid, 20–30 minutes.
Heat 2 dry large skillets over low (or use 1 skillet and work in 2 batches). Spread 1 side of 4 slices with half of mayonnaise. Set slices, mayo side down, on a cutting board. Mound cheese on slices, pressing down gently to pack onto bread. Top with shallot and close sandwiches. Cook, mayo side down, pressing gently, until bottom sides are golden brown (you should barely hear any sound of sizzling as the bread hits the skillet; low and slow is key), 6–8 minutes. Spread remaining mayonnaise over top slices of bread and carefully turn sandwiches over. Cook until other side is golden brown and cheese is melted, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carefully pry each sandwich open. Add a thin layer of tomatoes and close back up; slice in half.