Today begins my first “Two-Week Technique” challenge. Because of my recent disappointment with broiled chicken (my first ever experience with a broiler), I want to broil a variety of foods to get a better feel for the process. I have three recipes lined up and I figured I’d start with the easiest and work my way up to (what I imagine will be) the most difficult. First up? Grilled cheese!
First, and most importantly, I did do my research. I compiled a list of the important things there are to know about broiling:
- To broil is “to cook food a measured distance below direct, dry heat” (Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 14th edition)
- Use a ruler to measure the distance between the top of the food and the heating element; when cooking meat, the thinner the cut, the closer it should be to the heat source
- Trim off excess fat to avoid flareups
- Keep an eye on the food while it is cooking, as it can easily be overcooked if not watched carefully
- Steer clear of oily marinades; for broiling, rubs are a better flavoring option
- Meat should be at room temperature when you begin broiling
Until I found a recipe on Betty Crocker’s website for broiled grilled cheese, I didn’t know the broiler could be used to make something as simple as a cheese sandwich. I tossed my superb grilled-cheese-making skills aside and put my broiler to the test. First, I readied my bread and cheese while the broiler preheated.
The first hiccup I encountered was that the recipe didn’t specify whether to broil the sandwiches on “high” or “low.” I did some quick reading online and found that many people used the low setting if they weren’t cooking a big slab of meat. I decided to play it safe and broil the sandwiches on low. I hardly took my eyes off of them, checking them about every ten seconds. The recipe’s instructions were to broil them for two minutes on one side, flip them, and broil for one more minute. I had to flip mine three different times over the course of five or six minutes. Maybe low wasn’t the right call. The good news is, they looked like your average grilled cheese!
Even though the broiled grilled cheese was successful, I don’t think I’ll do it again. It gave the bread a different texture than what you’d get if you grilled them on a skillet. But I had a good bonding moment with my broiler tonight and I’m excited for our next rendezvous: Stuffed Potatoes with Ham, Thyme, and Gruyere!