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Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. First, you make your own cheese ...

April 12, 2013|By Russ Parsons
  • The levitating grilled cheese sandwich from "Modernist Cuisine at Home."
The levitating grilled cheese sandwich from "Modernist Cuisine… (Melissa Lehuta / Modernist…)

For most of us, any day can be National Grilled Cheese Day -- a grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate in nearly instant comfort food. Butter some bread, slice some cheese, toast together on a griddle.

With the exception of whatever garnishes we might have lying around, that’s pretty much it. That and a bowl of tomato soup (canned please, Campbell’s) will get you through any of life's storms.

But there’s nothing so simple that a determined cook can’t turn it into a weekend project – particularly if he has a full supply of sodium citrate. Consider for a moment the grilled cheese sandwich selection in Nathan Myhrvold’s "Modernist Cuisine at Home."

You start by making your own cheese. No, I’m not kidding.

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Myhrvold’s “Perfectly Melting Cheese Slice” is made by heating together water and sodium citrate (an emulsifier) and then adding shredded cheese. When the cheese is melted, you puree it with an immersion blender.

Then you pour that mixture onto a warmed baking sheet you’ve lined with a silicone pad to prevent sticking. Cool it until it’s set, then cut out perfect circles with a ring mold (if you’re feeling lazy, you can cut it into squares).

"Place plastic wrap or parchment paper between the slices to prevent them from sticking together," Myrhvold concludes. He's either a master of deadpan humor or totally unaware that he’s just taken a couple of hours to create homemade Kraft Singles.

What do you do with this cheese? Make it with aged white cheddar and you can pair it with sourdough, sliced apple, grilled applesauce and jalapenos. With Camembert and Gruyere, pair it with brioche, black forest ham, sauteed mushroom and a fried egg. With Stilton, pair it with walnut bread, shallot and Port wine marmalade and thinly sliced pears and celery.

And so it goes.


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