January 14, 2006 | Episode 2
Chef Terrance Brennan demonstrates the versatility of grilled cheese
Real Simple Television Productions Inc.
Best Cheeses for Grilling
Cheddar isn’t the only cheese that tastes great grilled. Terrance Brennan, chef-proprietor of the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, in New York City, suggests looking for any semifirm cheese. “They melt very easily and are dense but creamy,” he says. No matter which variety you choose, make sure you bring it to room temperature before grilling, shred it to help it melt evenly and quickly, and serve it on a delicious, crusty bread. Brennan generally uses butter to prepare his grilled cheeses because it helps the bread brown faster and complements the flavors, but “for a Provençal goat cheese, for example, where the flavors of Provence are dominant, I’ll use an olive oil,” he says. “And maybe I’ll do the same with a sheep’s milk from Spain, which is known for its olive oil.”
Some of Brennan’s favorite grilling combinations are blue cheese with quince, sliced apple with Cheddar, and goat cheese with tomatoes and zucchini or anchovies. Other times he’ll layer on a few different types of cheese from the same family, such as Gruyère, Comté, and Beaufort, which are all alpine cheeses (meaning firm, nutty varieties aged in the mountains). His final advice? Remember: “The sandwich is only going to be as good as the cheese.” To that end, here are some of his favorite grilling goods.
Brescianella: A cow's-milk cheese related to Taleggio.
Camembert: A soft, mild cheese originally from France.
Cheddar: The old favorite comes in many varieties.
Chimay: A semisoft Belgian cheese made from cow’s milk.
Comté: Similar to Gruyère, this is the cheese found in France’s famous croque-monsieur sandwich.
Gruyère: A nutty Swiss cheese.
Le Moulis: A buttery-flavored semihard cheese from France.
Morbier: A stinky but mildly flavored semisoft French cheese.
Taleggio: A tangy semisoft Italian cheese.
Parmigiano-Reggiano: Brennan suggests sprinkling gratings of this hard, pungent cheese on top of a sandwich as a seasoning.