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Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt Paperback – July 22, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


A really great grilled cheese sandwich is hard to find. Too often a thin, square slice of American cheese, released from its plastic case, is slapped on wimpy white bread, slathered with butter and toasted. Within minutes, it becomes limp and greasy.

But a really great grilled cheese is not hard to make, and its secrets have been disclosed in a tempting new book, "Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt" by Marlena Spieler).

A quick browse though the book may first hook you with its gorgeous color photos and hip design. But a further look reveals recipes created with inspired combinations.

For instance, supple slices of fresh mozzarella and salty proscuitto are spread with sweet fig jam and enclosed within crisply toasted bread, making a union that's simply perfect. And roasted red pepper, sweet onion and a hearty dose of paprika are innovative twists on the standard tuna melt.

But aside from the terrific recipes, Spieler has written a book that's packed with useful tips and information about her subject. A brief glossary of cheeses, suggestions for pairing cheese with the perfect bread partner, and ideas for dressing up Dijon mustard are just some of the finds. A bonus is a nice recipe for tomato soup, the classic partner of the grilled cheese sandwich. This one, however, is finished with an aromatic spoonful of basil pesto and a swirl of cr me fraiche.

Try Spieler's technique for pressing sandwiches. The bread is lightly brushed with olive oil or butter and set into a heavy, hot skillet.

Another heavy pan is placed on top and lightly pressed, compacting the ingredients so they meld as one. The bread becomes perfectly crisp and browned, the cheese melting and luscious. It's a heavenly match if there ever was one. -Seattle Times

About the Author

Marlena Spieler is the author of over 50 cookbooks published worldwide and has written for Bon Appetit and Saveur. She writes the award-winning food column "The Roving Feast," and is a three-time James Beard nominee. Born in Sacramento, California, she currently lives in Hampshire, England.

Sheri Giblin is a food and lifestyle photographer. She lives in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (July 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811841294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811841290
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Perlow on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Marlena Spieler's new book is just fabulous. Not just the recipes but the mouthwatering photography by Sheri Giblin. In addition to the grilled cheese recipes, there's a detailed discussion of which cheeses and breads to use, and an accompaniments section with recipes for homemade tomato soup and zucchini pickles, as well as a salad summary.

I know what I'm having for lunch, grilled American cheese on white bread with tomato soup. Although, that may disappoint the author, as she says, "American cheese is probably the most famous processed cheese. Don't expect to find it in this book. Why choose processed cheese when there are so many fabulous cheeses to choose from?" (p. 17) Well, first off, I'm in a reminiscent mood. Second, I have the ingredients in the house. But I promise, next time I hit my local cheese shop, I'll have to get some Telleggio and make the "Austin Powers' Shag-a-delic 1970s Grilled Ham, Cheese and Pineapple" or some Gruyere for a classic "Croque Monsieur."
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Garrett M. Mccord on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who doesn't love a warm, comforting grilled cheese sammich when the weather gets cold? Some good bread, a few slices of cheddar, butter, and a big crunchy pickle is heaven to me! Throw in a side of tomato soup and we got a winning combination!

I always thought I was creative when I took spinach, pears, and brie and made a very classy little grilled cheese pressed between some heavy skillets. However, Marlena Spieler - a long time writer for Bon Appetit and author of many cookbooks - has brought grilled cheese to a new level. Her book Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt is just the thing to bring a creative comfort to your kitchen during the cold season.

The book starts out with a comprehensive review and introduction. She begins by covering various types of cheeses (blue viened, soft, cow, goat, semi-hard, spiced, bloomy rind, smoked and so on in extremely specifc subcategories) and how each can be perfectly utilized and paired for your own creative uses. All are accompanied by a short description describing their general flavors and properties. Since one may not be able to eat a whole wedge of cheese, Spieler also considers the proper storage and handling of cheeses. To further aide the grilled cheese selection process, a section covering breads, meats, fuits, chutneys and so on are all covered so that your experience with her recipes and your own home concoctions! At the back is even a resource guide on where to find good cheese stores or markets, and suggestions on finding local cheeses.

But how do the recipes stand up? Perfectly. Rob and I have already found a few favorites, ensuring that we now keep a few select cheeses on hand, and nudging us to always experiment with a new piece of stinky goodness.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You think you know grilled cheese sandwiches? I've been eating them for decades. But this slender volume expands one's imagination about what a grilled cheese sandwich can be! I am pleased that one of my Amazon friends brought this book to my attention. . . .

As the author, Marlena Spieler, says at the outset: "Crisply toasted in the pan or broiled open-face to a melty sizzle, there are few things more enticing than a grilled cheese sandwich."

An early part of the book focuses on "A Guide to the Grilled." Such hot topics as the following are addressed: What kind of cheese to use? What kind of bread to use? What extras might work? For instance, with a standard grilled cheese sandwich, I find that a tomato inserted into the sandwich adds a nice touch. And so on. . . .

I'll begin with my favorite--Croque monsieur. The recipe in this book is quite a bit different than the simple version I make. I put some Swiss cheese (I like to use gruyere) and boiled ham inside of bread, slather the outside with butter, and fry it up. This version, instead, broils the sandwich. It really sounds tasty, so I suspect that I'll soon be experimenting.

Another recipe in this book that caught my fancy: Panini Inglese. This tidbit features rare roast beef, blue cheese, and watercress. Using a panini press (I simply must acquire one of these!) or skillet, you heat this up and enjoy the result. The picture of the resulting sandwich is awfully tempting.

And then there is the New Orleans version--Muffaletta. I've enjoyed these over time (although I haven't consumed as many as I'd like!). With this recipe, I think I'll create a few of these treats at home.

And so many more (about 50 in all). At the close, the author adds "accompaniments," salads, side dishes, mustards, and so on.

If you like grilled cheese sandwiches, this is a nice resource. I look forward to expanding my repertoire of recipes!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Witkowski on March 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
First of all, I'm amused by the bizarrely aggressive reviewer above. Umm, it's grilled cheese - relax.

Trust me, this book oozes with great content. The recipes include the relatively simple- putting together a special grilled cheese with one of the many well-thought out selections of breads, cheeses, seasonings and accompaniments (like chutney, spicy greens or pickles). Even the simple ones are not combos that I would have thought of, like the tasty Panini Inglese, built from classically English treats like Stilton, watercress, and roast beef.

The book also includes some recipes that are a bit more involved, like the Hot Muffaletta or the Sage, Sausage and Jack Cheese Sandwich with preserved lemons. It's a wonderful exploration of grilled cheese, and I think you will be impressed. I'm certainly enjoying it.
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