The spring 2013 issue of Culture Magazine: The Word on Cheese has one seriously confused-looking grilled cheese on its cover. What happened? Grilled cheese may be one of the world's simplest sandwiches, and the food stylist put the cheese in the wrong place — on the outside of the bread.
That said, I found the suggestion to use American cheese a bit, well, insulting — call me a cheese snob — and accordingly created my own rendition. The inside: slivers of green tomato sandwiched between slices of white Cheddar. And the outside: a generous smear of butter, plus an even more generous sprinkling of grated Gruyère. The extra cheese turns into a delightfully crispy crust, much like an Italian frico.
Lay out 2 pieces of bread. To 1 piece, add 2 Cheddar slices, topped by 2 tomato slices, topped by 2 more Cheddar slices. (Putting the tomatoes between the cheese will help avoid any sogginess.) Close the sandwich and generously butter both sides. Sprinkle 1/8 cup of the Gruyère on the top piece of bread and press down lightly. Repeat the process to create 3 more sandwiches.
Heat a (preferably nonstick) sauté pan over medium-high heat. Gruyère side down, add as many sandwiches as will fit in the pan — working in batches, since you don't want to crowd them! Add another 1/8 cup of the Gruyère to the top of each sandwich and press down.
When the bottom side is crispy and browned, give the pan a good shake, and flip each sandwich with a bit of confidence. Continue to cook until the inside is melty. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Slice each in half and serve immediately.