• The Best Grilled Cheese

    August 3, 2017
    Grilled cheese sandwich.

    Rikki Snyder for The New York Times
    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2017

    The Best Grilled Cheese

    Good morning. A few years ago, my colleagues and I put together “A Field Guide to the American Sandwich” for The Times. It was a celebratory taxonomy, in the main, but we were lucky to pick up a few helpful recipes along the way, including Julia Moskin’s invaluable one for grilled cheese (above).

    Now, you’d think you wouldn’t need a recipe for grilled cheese, that grilled cheese could really be part of our regular Wednesday tradition of no-recipe recipes, that all you really need to do is slap some cheese into a sandwich and sauté it in a pan. But Julia’s recipe puts the lie to that, with all kinds of helpful advice that will elevate your grilled cheese sandwich from passable to extraordinary, with just a few swipes of mayonnaise and careful consideration of the ratio of cheese to bread.

    So perhaps that could be dinner tonight, and, if you like, you could add to it a no-recipe recipe flourish, taken from the refrigerator: the addition to the sandwich of some leftover chicken or pork or steak, a little dip or gochujang sauce, a few pickles, some sliced jalapeño, the tail end of a beefsteak tomato, maybe a fried egg. It’s the simplest kind of cooking, and on a Wednesday night in August that’s exactly what most of us need.

    Though perhaps you’re in the mood for an actual recipe? Tejal Rao is just back from interior Maine, with a delightful profile of the chef Erin French of the Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom. To go with it, she offers two recipes from Ms. French’s new cookbook.

    One is for halibut niçoise, a dish in which the main components of a classic salad are accounted for, but totally reconfigured into a dish that’s warmer and more substantial. (No halibut? Try fluke or flounder, turbot or cod.) The other is for a chilled golden beet and buttermilk soup, which layers bright and carefully balanced acidity into a marvelous whole. Serve with grilled garlic bread, is what I’m thinking.

    Or you could make miso chicken, pair it with stir-fried chard and red peppers. You could make oven-steamed salmon and serve it with David Tanis’s recipe for new potatoes baked in parchment. Maybe stir up some grits and shrimp, reimagined by the chef David Chang? Or make a tuna salad composée, as outlined by the cocktail wizard Toby Cecchini?

    There are thousands and thousands of recipes to choose from on CookingSign up for a subscription today. Then you can browse and save recipes to your heart’s content, and organize them as you see fit. As always, please rate the recipes you’ve cooked, and do leave notes on them as well, for yourself and for others, if you’d like to note an improvement you’ve made, or tell us about a substitute ingredient.

    And if anything goes wrong, either with your subscription or with a particular recipe or action on the site, please let us know right away. Our care team is awesome, and someone there will sort you out on the quick: cookingcare@nytimes.com.

    Now, please take a moment to read about the life and work of the legendary book editor Judith Jones, who has died at 93. And check out this collection of recipes honoring her work with Julia Child.

    Then, in matters far outside the kitchen, check out Abe Streep’s big piece in Outside, on how the lifestyle and technical-clothing company Patagonia has gone to war with the Trump administration, a political act that happens to have been very good for sales.

    And if you’re looking for a very smart, very funny, very dark crime novel that’s more literary than pulp, pull up Edward Conlon’s “Red on Red,” which I missed when it came out in 2011. It’s just terrific.

    Sabra Krock for The New York Times
    15 minutes, 6 to 8 servings
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    Jessica Emily Marx for The New York Times
    1 hour 15 minutes, 4 servings
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    Jessica Emily Marx for The New York Times
    About 45 minutes, plus 1 hour’s chilling, 4 to 6 servings
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    You can use any melting cheese, such as American, Muenster or Swiss, but not too much: part of the perfection here is in the proportion of bread to cheese.

    Rikki Snyder for The New York Times
    15 minutes, 1 sandwich
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    Rikki Snyder for The New York Times
    45 minutes, 4 servings
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    Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
    20 minutes, Serves three to four
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    Lunch is served: oven-steamed salmon.

    Jim Wilson/The New York Times
    About 30 minutes, 1 to 8 servings, depending on the quantity cooked
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    Jim Wilson/The New York Times
    1 hour, 4 servings
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    Ruby Washington/The New York Times
    30 minutes, 2 main course servings or 4 starters
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    Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
    5 minutes, About 2 cups
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