Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!
I know that everyone is posting about chocolate and heart-shaped goodies, but let’s be honest – that’s not all we’re eating during this special day. Maybe your heart (or tummy) wants steak, maybe you want sushi, or pasta, or maybe you don’t even want anything at all. And that’s okay.
But I like thinking of today as a special day for love, and I know that for most of us, sometimes love can be communicated with food. So today I’m bringing you one of my favorite comfort foods of all time, something that would say “I love you” in a sweet, buttery, cheesy way: grilled cheese with orange marmalade.
Plain grilled cheese is great, but adding orange marmalade would make it even better. My mom is the person who taught me about pairing sharp cheddar cheese with sweet and sticky orange marmalade. I love the sweet and salty flavors together, the melty cheese, the strings of orange rind in the marmalade, and all the crunchy seedy texture from toasted multi-grain bread.
And I think melty cheese deserves a second mention?
My mom would often make “grilled” cheese in the toaster oven. She’ll butter a piece of toast and top it with sliced cheese, then toast it until everything is hot and melty. It’s more efficient, too, especially because she prefers open faced sandwiches. But for this version, I made the grilled cheese in a cast iron skillet, buttered both sides of the bread (because a little extra butter is always good), and grated the cheddar for even better melting. After both pieces of bread were toasted golden brown, I smeared some orange marmalade on one piece then squished it on top of the piece with melted cheese.
It’s a little messy to eat, but I hope you won’t mind having to lick sweet marmalade from your fingers as you bite into the crunchy bread. And you probably won’t mind having to pick the extra strings of gooey cheese that melt out on the sides.
You can make this on a cast iron pan, you can make it on a toaster oven, you can make it on a grill (and if you are so lucky not to be living in a winter tundra right now, you can use your outdoor grill). You can make it for yourself, for your partner, for your kids, for your loved ones. You’ll need to be a little careful that you don’t burn the bread, but it’s as simple as a meal can get. A simple plate of love with toasted multi-grain bread, butter, sharp cheddar, some sweet jam, and maybe a sticky kiss to go with your grilled cheese.
Grilled Cheese with Orange Marmalade
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 slices seedy multi-grain bread (or use your favorite kind)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
- Spread the butter on both sides of the bread. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat, and add both pieces of bread. Place the grated cheddar on top of one slice, and cook for a minute or two until the cheese starts to melt.
- Flip over the other piece of bread to toast the other side.
- When the bread is golden brown (or toasted to your liking), remove both pieces of bread from skillet. Spread orange marmalade on the plain piece and place on top of the piece with melted cheese. Slice and serve while hot!