A Ploughman's Grilled Cheese Sandwich

by Joseph Erdos
Print Email

ImageA grilled cheese sandwich is as American as American gets. But other countries have their favorite form of cheese sandwich. The Swiss have the tradition of eating melted Raclette cheese spread on toasted bread. The French have the cafe favorite, the Croque-monsieur, a hot ham and cheese sandwich. The English have Welsh rarebit, which features slices of toast doused in a savory cheese sauce. And of course, the Americans have processed cheese product melted between two pieces of cardboard white bread. It's what most kids grow up on, even me. But I think it's time for a more mature grilled cheese sandwich.

My version puts a twist on an English classic, the Ploughman's lunch. It's a sandwich I enjoyed countless times through my travels in England. The lunch is typically made of country bread, cheese, pickle or gherkin, and apple, pickled onions, or beets. Supposedly the lunch was popularized by the cheese board to market British cheeses. It's not unlike all the marketing that goes into selling a popular brand of American cheese. Nowadays, sandwich shops in England have a special Ploughman's sandwich, which includes bread spread with pickle and layered with Cheddar cheese and apple slices. I take that sandwich and grill it to create the ultimate gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

The ingredient that really makes the sandwich is the pickle, which is what the English term relish. Branston makes the famous English pickle, which includes rutabaga, carrot, onion, cauliflower, and gherkin, all pickled in a vinegary and spicy sauce. It hits all the savory and sweet receptors in your mouth. However, the most important ingredient is cheese, in this case a very good English Cheddar. As a rule I always buy English or Wisconsin cheddar and never processed cheese. The apple slices add a slight sweetness and crunch to the sandwich. It's perfect for lunch or just a snack and it's easy enough to make in the frying pan or the toaster oven.

Ploughman's Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Note: Find Branston pickle in the international aisle of the supermarket, specialty British shops, or online. To make the chunky relish more spreadable, chop finely in the food processor.

2 slices whole-wheat bread
4 slices English Cheddar
1 tablespoon Branston pickle
1/2 apple, thinly sliced

Warm a skillet set over medium heat. Lay bread slices in pan and toast on both sides. Spread each slice of bread with 1-1/2 teaspoons pickle. Lay 2 cheese slices on each bread slice. Layer one slice of bread with apple slices and top with other slice of bread. Grill sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Yield: 1 sandwich.

 

Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.  

 

You have no rights to post comments

 

restaurant news

Rendezvous in Boston
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

rendezvousIt's six o'clock. Traffic is intense for no Red Sox game and the Grateful Dead boys several weeks gone. Every street is on hold as we split to Central Square's Mass Avenue and voilà: it's...

Read more...
The Apalachicola Seafood Grill and The Piggly Wiggly
Florida
by Ann Nichols

floridagrill.jpg On the second day of our Florida trip, we dined at one of our favorite, always good, “coming home” restaurants in Apalachicola: The Apalachicola Seafood Grill. Located in the heart of “downtown”...

Read more...
An Artful Dinner at The Modern in NYC
New York
by David Latt

momatartareWorking on an article for Bespoke Magazine about multi-course upscale dining, I interviewed Chef Gabriel Kreuther at MoMA's The Modern.

We talked on the phone for half an hour during which time he...

Read more...
Two New York WOW moments!
New York
by Nancy Ellison

How I love New York restaurants! I love my old standbys. I love the familiar friendly faces and food that I know exactly how it will taste. But, I also love going somewhere unexpected and...

Read more...