Uncommonly Good

Fresh Tomato Grilled Cheese

A friend has a garden full of tomatoes and I’ve been lucky enough to get some of the overflow.

I came across a recipe for grilled cheese and fresh tomatoes and my mouth started watering.

I can’t find the original inspiration recipe—I thought I pinned it, but alas, I couldn’t find it—but I remember it called for sharp cheddar.

Here’s what mine looks like.


Janz Larrupin Good Grilled Cheese and Fresh Tomato Sandwich

  • 100% whole wheat bread
  • Soft butter
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Garden fresh tomato
  • Olive oil

Smear butter on the outsides of two pieces of bread.
On the insides, on both slices of bread, spread mustard and top it with cheese.
One side add a layer of sliced tomato and close the sandwich.
In a med/low hot iron skillet pour a plop of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then slide your sandwich in.
Brown on each side leaving it long enough to melt the cheese into the tomato so it will all hold together. Put a lid on the pan if the bread is browning faster than the cheese is melting. Cheddar has a higher melting point than some of the softer cheeses so start with lower heat and be patient.

I let my pan get too hot before I put the sandwich in and the cheese didn’t melt as much as I would have liked (even with a lid), but the flavors were still all there. It was sooooo good.

There are so many options for this.



Dill pickles.

Crustier bread and balsamic vinegar.

If you have some fresh tomatoes how would you put your grilled cheese tomato sandwich together?

Anyway you like it, it’s larrupin!


July 27, 2012 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make a Crispy Crusty Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I love grilled cheese sandwiches.  But this is not the grilled cheese of my childhood.

And thanks to that new ABC show The Chew—which replaced All My Children— I learned a surprising new trick to making the outside brown and crusty and soooo good!

Grilled Cheese

To make a grilled cheese you just need bread, cheese, and butter and a heated pan. But I’ve learned you can make almost any kind of sandwich and turn it into a grilled cheese.

This one has spicy mustard, cheddar cheese (yesterday I used Provolone) ham, a dill pickle sandwich slice, more ham, and more cheese.

Grilled Cheese

I’m finally remembering to turn the heat on under my iron skillet when I go into the kitchen instead of after my sandwich is ready.

A pan of the right medium-ish temperature makes all the difference. The kind of cheese you use and the thickness of your sandwich also determines the heat. Higher heat and thin slices is OK for melty cheeses—such as provolone—but for cheddars and thicker sandwiches lower heat will give it time to heat all the way through without getting too brown on the outside.

Grilled Cheese

And now for the surprising tip from this  sandwich by Mario Batali. Instead of smearing the outside with butter (I sometime use olive oil) slather it with mayonnaise! Check out all the crusty little edges on this sandwich. Butter doesn’t do that. And there’s such a nice little crunch when you bite into it.

Yum! Thanks Mario!

December 7, 2011 Posted by | Sandwich | , | 3 Comments

May is Hamburger Month: Cheeseburger in Paradise

After spending the day snorkeling and scuba diving off Key West a Cheeseburger in Paradise at  Margaritaville Café was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Just like in the song the description included onion, lettuce, tomato, Kosher dill pickle, and French fries. It was almost 20 years ago, so the menu has likely been revised, but after a busy day on the water it was one tasty burger.

Here’s a recent review of a Key West Cheeseburger in Paradise. Very nice pix are included. I’ll post my own as soon as I build my own burger in a few days.

Here’s a recipe from Food Network that starts with grinding your own hamburger meat. I’ll make mine with 90% lean from the grocery store, but I will be making one of these as soon as I get some ground cow in the fridge. And I promise to post pictures.

BTW, I had another one of these in New Orleans and was not impressed. The burger was OK, but when I placed the order for a Cheeseburger in Paradise “just like in the song” I got twenty questions from the bartender who took my order.

“Do you want tomato and lettuce on that?”

“Uh, yeah.”


Again, “Yes.”

I mean, what part of “just like in the song” is so hard to understand?

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Sandwich | , | Leave a comment

Grilled Cheese and Pear

Here’s one last grilled cheese sandwich for the month.

Grilled Cheese and Pear Sandwich

The Ingredients

I put cheese on both sides of the bread with the pear slices only on one side before closing it up.

Grilled Cheese and Pear Sandwich

White Cheddar and Pear on the left, Muenster on the right.

I buttered both sides of the sandwich and put it on my trusty preheated iron griddle.

Grilled Cheese and Pear Sandwich

Bubbling butter on the griddle gives this a great flavor.

Ready to bite into.

Grilled Cheese and Pear Sandwich


It’s up to you, but I like this best with crisp pears.

Substitute the pear for a Granny Smith apple and use sharp cheddar for something with more pop.


April 30, 2011 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grilled Cheese Month: Dijon, Muenster, Egg and Avocado

I came across a recipe for the Perfect Fried Egg Sandwich a few days ago which got my mouth a-watering. It was piled high with bacon, but when I got ready to make this I was too impatient to fry the bacon. It wasn’t too shabby the way it turned out.

I wanted to be sure the cheese was melty on both sides and I didn’t think this would be very easy to flip, so I made it open-faced and put it together when it was done. I put it together on my homemade garlic-herb bread.  I used two burners, my iron griddle for the sandwich, and one of my 6 1/2-inch iron skillets for the egg.


Muenster Cheese

Spread butter on one side of the bread, Dijon on the other and place it, butter side down on a medium hot griddle.


Fry and Egg

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet to medium, add butter and immediately add the egg. This is one time you want the yolk to break. Swirl it around a little or a lot.


Add Avocado

While the egg fries, add slices of avocado to the top of the melting cheese.


Add the egg

When most of the egg white is cooked, put the egg on top of the avocado. Leave it flat for a whole sandwich, or use a spatula to roll it burrito-style to fit. Add the bacon here if you have it.


Put the sandwich together

Carefully flip one side of the sandwich on top of the other.


Grilled Fried Egg Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Fried Egg Sandwich


Grilled Cheese Fried Egg Sandwich

Grilled Muenster, Dijon, Fried Egg and Avocado on Garlic-Herb Bread Sandwich


April 17, 2011 Posted by | Sandwich | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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