Few things make our hearts flutter quite like an oozing string of cheese.
The humble cheese toastie (or grilled cheese as it's commonly known in America) is a comfort food and guilty pleasure like no other.
But how do you nail that perfect combination of creamy filling and crispy bread? We asked Nisha Patel and Nishma Chauhan of London street food stall Grill My Cheese to share their insider tips.
Before launching their business, they travelled the United States, starting in San Francisco and moving onto Los Angeles, Austin, New Orleans and New York to learn the tricks of the trade and the art of crafting the perfect cheese toastie. They discovered their favourite melts at Mission Cheese in San Francisco and Melt Ship in New York.
Based on these findings, here is their fail-safe recipe.
Step 1: Combine multiple cheeses
“We always recommend combining a few cheeses to get a great flavour, melt and stretch. A sharp cheddar, with a buttery gruyere is a winner for us. But even a slick of cream cheese underneath it all can be a delight.”
“Avoid really hard cheeses that struggle to melt. Halloumi and cottage cheese are big no-nos.”
Step 2: Go for sourdough bread
“There's nothing wrong with standard white bread for a toastie, it's how we remember eating them growing up. For something a bit more special however, the flavour and texture of sourdough is wondrous. Plus all the cheese melts in to the air pockets leaving crispy bits of cheese on the outside.”
Step 3: The secret ingredient
“Butter on the outside of the bread, do not make a toastie without this step if you want a golden crust.”
Step 4: Don't be precious about fillings
Nisha recommends trying different fillings with cheese: “Add whatever fillings you want. Try experimenting with different flavours and textures. Surprisingly (or not), loads of things taste great with cheese.”
“The beauty is the simplicity of the ingredients,” she continues. “So make sure to use the best you can.”
Here are three of their most popular and exciting fillings at their Grill My Cheese stall:
Indian spiced potato, red onion, coriander and apple and peanut chutney
Walnut, basil & lemon pesto, buffalo mozzarella, vine tomatoes, crispy bacon
Step 5: Cook in a dry frying pan
“Cook in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Using a spatula to press down on the sandwich whilst it cooks, to ensure all the cheese melts.”
You can find Grill My Cheese in London on Leather Lane, Holborn, from Wednesday to Friday, 12-2pm, and at Southbank from Friday to Sunday, 12-8pm.
Grill My Cheese is an American food ambassador for Alamo Rent-A-Car on their new State of Food Project, looking at US Food in the U.K.
Words: Sejal Kapadia, Images: Grill My Cheese