Take Your Grilled Cheese To The Next Level With A Parmesan Crust

Grilled cheese is one good thing that was made to be messed with. Of course there are the myriad of cheese combinations you throw between your bread to get the perfect combo of melty, salty, and flavorful, but then maybe you lay some tomato in there too? Even small unexpected additions like shallots or leeks can make your sandwich sing with extra notes of sweetness and herbal acidity. We won't get pedantic about when too many additions turn a grilled cheese into a different sandwich entirely. As long as the melted cheese is the star of the show, the sky's the limit.

Your grilled cheese experiments may mostly focus on what is going on between the slices, but the outside of your sandwich deserves some attention too. Going to work on the bread itself is a great way to add some texture in addition to flavor, with Kitchn noting that maintaining that contrast between your gooey interior and crisp exterior is key to a perfect grilled cheese. Taste of Home will tell you to slather a little mayo on the outside for a nice fatty crunch, and that is some good advice, but there is another addition you can dress your bread in to take your grilled cheese to new heights.

How to make grilled cheese with a Parmesan crust

If you've ever had a parmesan crisp, either as a snack or a sandwich topping, you already know why it is a good idea for your grilled cheese. Just follow Food & Wine's recommendation and slather a little mayo on the outside so the parmesan has something to adhere to, then press it in the pan and watch as it caramelizes together into a beautiful brown crust. If mayo isn't your thing you can also follow Real Simple's take and spread some softened butter on the bread directly instead of melting it in the pan, then add the parm. However you do it, you'll get a crackling, crisp exterior that is outrageously good.

On the flavor front, parmesan is going to add a whole different dimension to your grilled cheese. Parm, and other hard-aged cheeses, are rich in umami flavor, with Serious Eats noting that they will bring a savory, salty nuttiness to anything they're added to. Normally you would want to avoid aged cheese, because the biggest thing you are looking for is cheeses that melt well, and hard cheeses can be greasy and grainy. But by using parmesan on the outside, you get all its flavor-boosting power and skip out on the graininess. 

Your grilled cheese of the day is going to change based on your mood and your fridge contents, but this is one addition you'll want to keep coming back to.