April is National Grilled Cheese Month! This classic comfort food has made a big comeback in recent years and there are lots of different ways that you can celebrate grilled cheese throughout the month of April. Coming up, I've got a recipe for the ultimate classic grilled cheese with a twist and a list of American restaurants that serve up the cheesy goodness. As the author of a grilled cheese cookbook, I get pretty excited when April rolls around.

Okay, ready to learn how to make the ultimate grilled cheese? Today, I am sharing the recipe for a classic Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese. I love my grilled cheese with a slice of tomato and roasting the tomato first intensifies the tomato flavor. Then instead of just buttering the bread, I buttered it, and added a layer of shredded German Butterkase. Why? Because the cheese melts and then toasts making the grilled cheese crunchier and cheesier.

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Serves: 2

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large tomato

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 slices of white or wheat bread

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup shredded Butterkase

1/2 cup cheddar, sliced or shredded



grilled cheese step 1

1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tomato into standard sized slices. Arrange the tomato in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes.



grilled cheese step 2

2. While the tomatoes roast, start to prepare the sandwiches by spreading a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice of bread. Then, sprinkle a layer of the shredded Butterkase over the buttered side of the bread. Lightly press the cheese into the bread.



grilled cheese step 3

3. Once the tomatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, assemble the sandwiches. Place two slices of bread Butterkase side down on a work surface. Then add a thin layer of cheese, a layer of tomatoes and another layer of cheese. Top each sandwich with a slice of bread, Butterkase side facing up.

4. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Use half of the remaining butter to grease the pan. Once the pan is hot and the butter is sizzling, add the sandwiches. Carefully place the sandwiches exactly where you want them in the pan because you will not be able to move them. At first the Butterkase will melt, which will make moving the sandwiches in the pan a messy situation. Just have a little faith. The cheese will melt and then crisp up. 

5. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium low and grill the sandwiches for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Once the Butterkase melts and crisps, it is easy to flip. If you are having trouble flipping the sandwich, it is a sign that it isn't ready yet.

6. Once the sandwiches are ready to flip, use a spatula to lift them out of the pan. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and then return the sandwiches to toast the second side. Toast for about 3-4 minutes, or until the second side of the sandwich is golden brown. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.



roasted tomato grilled cheese

Not ready to conquer your kitchen? Here is a list of eight restaurants from across the United States that specialize in grilled cheese:



Blue Door Farmstand in Chicago, IL
Blue Door Farmstand in Chicago, IL

 1. If you are in Chicago, visit Blue Door Farmstand in Lincoln Park, which offers a rotating selection of seasonal grilled cheeses. The pumpkin sage grilled cheese from last fall was a personal favorite.

2. Melt Bar and Grilled has a handful of locations in Ohio where patrons have the option to order “The Melt Challenge,” which is a grilled cheese made with 13 cheeses and weighs 3 1/2 pounds.

3. Melthouse Bistro in Milwaukee has more than a dozen different grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, including vegetarian and meaty options.

4. The Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. has a mix of creative takes on grilled cheese as well as a classic grilled cheese made with white bread and American cheese. 

5. Pittsburgh’s The Yard wins the award for creativity with their cleverly named grilled cheeses, including the Big Che-bowski, which combines cheddar, gouda, bacon, tomato, and a fried egg.

6. Melt Shop in New York City serves up 20 different grilled cheese options, tater tots, and shakes at five different locations.

7. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco offers a mac and cheese stuffed grilled cheese, along with eight other options, which can be customized with a selection of add-ins.

8. GCDC in Washington D.C. isn't just about grilled cheese, its menu items are made available in versions such as grilled cheese, quesadilla, or mac and cheese.

Happy National Grilled Cheese Month, everyone!




Kit Graham

Kit Graham spends her time cooking up new creations in her kitchen and exploring Chicago’s ever-evolving culinary scene. She began blogging in 2011 when her friends gifted her a blog as a way to get her to share her recipes. In 2013, Kit wrote her first cookbook, The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook, which is an ode to her favorite meal from childhood. Kit was raised in Kennebunk, Maine, went to college in Massachusetts, and lived in New York City before settling in the Windy City. For more, head over to thekittchen.com where Kit shares original and practical recipes and Chicago restaurant reviews.

Kit is part of The Opener, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that will bring the best food, culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey.