Pulling apart the two halves of a fresh-off-the-griddle grilled cheese is acutely satisfying. It’s crispy, gooey and perfectly simple.
But how to achieve that mouth-watering moment is of some debate—just about everybody has an opinion on the perfect recipe and the ideal frying technique for the sandwich. It ranges from the classicists who stick to white bread browned with butter and a melty orange, Kraft Singles center to the avant-garde who experiment with specialty cheeses and add-ins like mushrooms and fried eggs.
“I think the things that make a grilled cheese sandwich so good are that it’s warm, crispy, gooey and savory primarily,” says James Beard Award-nominated chef Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia and its sister restaurant Proxi. His go-to “grilled cheese sandwich is sort of a late-night, come home from work thing.”