How To Throw a Grilled Cheese Party
This past Sunday, I did something totally different for our usual Sunday dinner – a grilled cheese party! On Saturday, when I shared my Sunday dinner menu, so many of you commented wanting to know more about how I was going to do a grilled cheese bar that I most definitely owed you a special post :)
When I asked my husband last week if there was anything he was particularly hungry for on Sunday, he thought for a bit and said grilled cheese sandwiches. I immediately thought of doing a big grilled cheese bar, similar to the pizza bar I set up for our parents on New Year’s Eve. Below are all of the details you need to throw your own grilled cheese party because, really, there are few things that define comfort food more than grilled cheese sandwiches!
Step 1: Choose Your Bread
The amount of people you are having will likely determine how many loaves of bread you need. I was only making sandwiches for six on Sunday, so I stuck to two loaves of bread. As a general rule of thumb, I would plan on one loaf of bread per 4 people.
Types of Bread to Consider: White or Italian, Sourdough, Multi-Grain, Challah, Ciabatta
Since we were a small group and I had a good idea of what everyone likes, I went with one loaf of Italian and one of sourdough.
Step 2: Pick the CHEESE!
This is the most important part of the entire sandwich, right?! You want wonderfully melty, gooey cheese, so I go with softer cheeses that melt easily for my grilled cheese sandwiches.
Cheese Options: American, Swiss/Gruyere, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Smoked Gouda, Brie
I had American, Swiss, cheddar, mozzarella and smoked gouda on hand for our sandwiches on Sunday.
Step 3: Toppings, Toppings and More Toppings
This is where you can really go wild and get creative. The size of your crowd will largely determine how many different options you want to include, but here are some ideas:
Meats: Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Salami/Sopressata, Bacon, Traditional Lunchmeat
Veggies: Caramelized Onions, Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula, Basil, Roasted Red Peppers, Banana Peppers, Tomatoes, Avocado (fruit? veggie?)
Fruit: Pears, Apples
Condiments: Fig Spread, Stone Ground Mustard, Mayonnaise, Sriracha, Pizza Sauce
Step 4: Putting It All Together
You can offer up suggestions for sandwiches, or let your guests peruse all of the options and come up with their own combinations. These are a few of the ones we made on Sunday:
- Italian Bread, Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Red Peppers, Basil
- Italian Bread, Prosciutto, American Cheese & Smoked Gouda
- Sourdough Bread, American Cheese, Smoked Gouda, Bacon, Tomato, Avocado, Sriracha
Below are some suggestions based on sandwiches I’ve had in the past that have totally knocked my socks off!
- Sourdough, Brie, Prosciutto, Pears and Fig Spread
- White Bread, Apple, Bacon and Cheddar
- Italian Bread, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere (a faux French onion soup sandwich!)
- Italian Bread, Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
- Italian Bread, Mozzarella, Pepperoni and Pizza Sauce
Step 5: Cook!
Since we had a small group, I took everyone’s sandwich order, assembled them and cooked them myself. I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet (I was able to cook two sandwiches at once) on medium-low heat and generously buttered both sides of the sandwich so that they browned nicely with a gorgeous crust. I typically cover the pan with a lid to speed up the cheese melting process and each batch takes less than 5 minutes to cook. With a small amount of people, this was an easy way to do it. However, if you have a large crowd, you may want to let everyone assemble their own sandwiches and then have an assembly line with a panini press or a large griddle.
That’s it! Everyone enjoyed the change of pace from a big, multi-course dinner on Sunday and, most importantly, they LOVED their personalized sandwiches!
What are your favorite grilled cheese sandwich combinations?