When I was in college studying food science, I lived on campus. This was excellent for my social life, but not so great in terms of food quality. While college food was a step up from boarding school, in at least there was some type of choice, the options were mostly depressing – standard institutional food.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that the best bet was to get myself a toasted sandwich press, or a ‘breville’ as we used to call it. There was always an abundance of bread in the dining hall and most things taste better toasted between two slices. So my friends and I would load up on bread and whatever food looked the least disgusting and take it back to our rooms for a little communal toasted sandwich session.
We even got creative from time to time, lashing out and cooking bacon and eggs from the local 7eleven. If there’s one thing I learned, it was how many different things you can cook on a sandwich press.
Needless to say I ate my fair share of ‘brevilles’, so when I moved out into a proper house with some friends, we were pretty keen to explore cooking anything BUT toasted sandwiches. So my trusty and well loved sandwich press was relegated to the back of a kitchen cupboard, eventually being discarded during one of my many moves.
These days, enough time has passed that I can get excited about the thought of a toasted sandwich. But as a minimalist, I can’t bring myself to buy an electric sandwich press. The truth is, you don’t really need a sandwich press to make a really top notch toasted sandwich at home.
All you need is a frying pan and something heavy to squash your sandwich down. Sure it takes a little longer to cook one side and then the other, but honestly, it’s only an extra couple of minutes.
So today I have the most humble of toasted sandwiches, the classic cheese. Enjoy.
[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]
minimalist toasted cheese sandwich
The mustard and mayo are really optional. I love using them to spice up the cheese a little but you could easily go without.
And feel free to use butter to grease the bread instead of olive oil. Or if you like keeping things as low fat as possible, toast without any extra oil, It won’t get as golden but your sandwich won’t stick.
Today I used fontina, a wonderful stinky Italian cheese but you could use anything that is going to melt well. Cheddar is always good as is something like a guryere.
2 slices rustic bread
dijon mustard, optional
whole egg mayonnaise, optional
your favourite melting cheese, sliced
1. Generously spread mustard, if using over one slice of bread and slather mayonnaise, if using on the other slice.
2. Layer cheese over the mustard to cover. Pepper generously.
3. Sandwich the other slice of bread on top, mayonnaise side down.
4. Preheat a frying pan on medium high. Drizzle the top of the sandwich with olive oil and place in the pan, olive oil side down.
6. Cover with a layer of baking paper or foil and squash the sandwich down with the base of a saucepan or something else heavy and flat. Cook for a few minutes, or until golden on one side.
7. Drizzle the uncooked side with a little oil. Turn and cook the other side, pressing down as before, until both sides are golden and the cheese is melted and lovely.