The Hippo


May 30, 2020








Recipe: Dijon Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Courtesy of Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast (serves 4)
8 slices hearty peasant bread
4 tablespoons butter
Dijon mustard
16 slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4-8 slices mozzarella cheese
1 garlic clove
Spread butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Turn slices over so the butter is facing down. Spread each slice with Dijon mustard. On four slices of the bread, layer with two slices of cheddar, then one to two slices of mozzarella, then two more slices of cheddar. Top with the remaining four slices of bread with the Dijon mustard facing down. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When hot, place the sandwiches onto the pan and cook until the bread is golden brown. Turn the sandwich over and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread has browned. It is better to cook over a moderate flame to allow the cheese to melt and not burn the bread. Remove the sandwiches from the pan and rub the top of each sandwich with the garlic clove. Serve immediately.
Where to get a great grilled cheese
Pretty much anywhere that will serve a sandwich will serve a grilled cheese (it’s often on the kids menu if you don’t see it elsewhere). Here are some of the local sources for cheesy goodness that offer specialty grilled cheese sandwiches (or the classic with lots of ways to amp it up) on their menus year-round.
Who is your favorite grilled cheese purveyor and what do they do to make their sandwiches special? Let us know at food@ and we’ll run your recommendation in a future Weekly Dish column..
Airport Diner (2280 Brown Ave., Manchester, 623-5040); Tilt’n Diner (61 Laconia Road, Tilton, 286-2204); and Route 104 Diner (752 NH Route 104, New Hampton, serves a regular grilled cheese with chips and a pickle for $3.99. For $4.49, you can get it with tomatoes added. For $4.99, you can get it with your added choice of ham, bacon or even bologna. French fries can be subsituted as a side for $1.59, or sweet potato fries for $1.99. 
The Bakeshop on Kelley Street (171 Kelley St., Manchester, 624-3500, offers a traditional grilled cheese with your choice of bacon, ham or tomato as an add-on for $6.95, as well as The Bakeshop Grilled Cheese, which is made with mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil, also for $6.95. Both are served on homemade garlic and herb bread with a side of either potato salad, broccoli salad or potato chips.
Bayona Cafe (670 N. Commercial St., Manchester, 782-3450, offers a cheesy grilled cheese on Texas toast for $6, prepared with gruyere, provolone and cheddar cheeses. It is usually served with french fries or beer-battered onion rings. 
Bonhoeffer’s Cafe & Espresso (8 Franklin St., Nashua, 883-6879, makes a grilled caprese sandwich for $6.99 with mozzarella cheese, extra virgin olive oil, basil marinade, lettuce and tomato, served on your choice of a ciabatta roll or panini bread and with chips and a pickle.
The Bridge Cafe on Elm (1117 Elm St., Manchester, 647-9991, offers a three-cheese grilled cheese, made with cheddar, Swiss and American, for $5.95. Tomatoes can be added for an extra 50 cents.
The Common Man (25 Water St., Concord, 228-3463; 304 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 429-3463; 88 Range Road, Windham, 898-0088, offers a Big Cheese sandwich for $7.99, which is made with cheddar cheese, peppered bacon and tomato between parmesan farmhouse bread. It is served with tomato soup for dipping. For a dollar less, you can hold the bacon and tomato. 
Copper Door Restaurant (15 Leavy Drive, Bedford, 488-2677, offers a grilled cheese made on sourdough bread with a combination of sharp cheddar and provolone, paired with a rustic tomato soup, for $11.50. A limited item currently available on the fall menu as of Sept. 5 is the apple bacon grilled cheese, made with cheddar and smoked gouda, baby spinach, Granny Smith apple and a house-made bacon apple jam all grilled together. It is served with sweet potato fries and maple Sriracha aioli.
Country Tavern Restaurant & Pub (452 Amherst St., Nashua, 889-5871, offers the Tavern Grilled Cheese for $10.50; the sandwich is made with muenster cheese, dill pickles, caramelized onions and dijon mustard on Tuscan bread.
The Derryfield Restaurant (625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880, offers a grilled cheese for $5.99, with options to add ham, tomato or bacon for 75 cents each.
The D.W. Diner (416 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-1116, makes a grilled cheese with either American, Swiss or provolone cheese on your choice of bread for $5.99, and served with chips, steak cut fries or onion rings.
The Everyday Cafe & Pub (14 Maple St., Contoocook, 746-6041, offers the Wicked Grilled Cheese for $6.99, which is made with melted ghost pepper, provolone, Swiss and American cheese, jalapenos and roasted tomatoes pressed on thick white bread. There’s also Jim’s Jammin grilled cheese, made with three slices of white or wheat bread, topped with American, cheddar, provolone and Swiss cheese, and roasted tomatoes. 
Extra Touch Gourmet Cafe (4 Hawthorne Drive, No. 2, Bedford, 488-6620, offers a classic grilled cheese with tomato for $5.95, or a grilled cheese with ham or bacon added for $6.95. Both are made with Swiss and sharp cheddar cheeses on your choice of bread. Options include 7-grain, sourdough, wheat, white, marbled rye, ciabatta and gluten-free grain or white.
Firefly American Bistro & Bar (22 Concord St., Manchester, 935-9740, offers a grilled cheese sandwich on its $5 lunch menu, which is made with your choice of cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss or pepper jack) and bread (wheat, honey wheat and rye). You can add tomato to it for $1 or bacon or fresh avocado slices for $2 each.
Hammersmith Sandwich Co. (23 Fresh River Road, Epping, 734-4325, offers a classic grilled cheese for $6.89, which is made on your choice of sourdough or multigrain bread, with American cheese, bacon and tomatoes.
In a Pinch Cafe & Bakery (146 Pleasant St., Concord, 226-2272, has a grilled cheese and soup combo for $8.95. Sandwiches can be made with your choice of bread (French, sourdough or multigrain), cheese (Swiss, American, provolone, smoked gouda, cheddar, dill havarti, house-made Boursin, or imported brie) and add-ons like mayonnaise, tomatoes, horseradish sauce, spinach and more.
Kimball’s CAV’ern Family Sports Restaurant (351 Pembroke St., Pembroke, 485-7777, offers a grilled cheese for $4.75, or a grilled ham and cheese for $5.75, with your choice of bread (white, wheat, rye or bulkie roll), fries, spicy fries or onion rings.
The Local Moose Cafe (124 Queen City Ave., Manchester, 232-2669, offers a grilled cheese on either whole wheat bread or a brioche bun and Vermont cheddar cheese.
MaryAnn’s Diner (29 E. Broadway, Derry, 434-5785, offers a grilled cheese for $3.29 or a grilled ham and cheese for $4.79, both served on your choice of bread (white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, sourdough or bulkie roll).
New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, offers the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese for $11, which is served with Cabot cheddar American cheese pressed between two slices of house-made bread and your choice of chipotle barbecue brisket, barbecue pulled pork or Montreal smoked meat and add-on options.
The Pint Publik House (1111 Elm St., Manchester, 206-5463, has an adult grilled cheese for $10 that is served on your choice of bread (white or wheat berry) and with your choice of cheese (provolone, American, cheddar or Swiss). Add-on options include roti tomatoes for $1 extra or bacon for $2 extra.
Popovers on the Square (11 Brickyard Square, No. 23, Epping, 734-4724; 8 Congress St., Portsmouth, 431-1119, has a grilled cheese for $9.79 that is made with provolone, mozzarella, asiago and torn basil on sliced sourdough, with a side of marinara sauce.
Pressed Cafe (108 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, 718-1250, offers a three-cheese grilled cheese with cheddar, Swiss and American on multigrain bread for $5.95, with options to add tomatoes for 50 cents or ham or applewood smoked bacon for $1.25.
Red Arrow Diner (112 Loudon Road, Concord, 415-0444; 137 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 552-3091; 61 Lowell St., Manchester, 626-1118; 63 Union Square, Milford, 249-9222, offers a grilled cheese for $3.99 served on your choice of bread (white, wheat, rye, sourdough, Texas toast, sub, wrap or gluten-free bread for 99 cents extra) and with your choice of cheese (American, Swiss, cheddar, provolone, mozzarella or shredded cheddar jack). Other options include a grilled cheese with ham for $4.99, a grilled cheese with bacon for $4.99, or a grilled cheese with tomatoes for $4.50.
Suddenly Susan’s Gourmet Deli (87 Hanover St., Manchester, 625-1850, offers The Fishercat for $4.85, a sandwich made with pepper jack, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, hot pepper relish, roasted red peppers and onion, grilled on sourdough bread.
Suddenly Soupy’s (28 Hanover St., Manchester, 657-7279, offers a grilled cheese for $5.65 on your choice of bread (sourdough, marble rye or wheat) and with your choice of cheese (Swiss, cheddar, havarti, pepper jack, provolone or American) Add-ons like extra cheese, bacon, tomatoes, hummus, avocado and more are available at additional costs.
Tandy’s Top Shelf Pub (1 Eagle Square, Concord, 856-7614, offers a grilled cheese for $7.49, which is served on Texas toast with a “secret variety” of cheeses. You can add avocado slices, bacon and tomato for $1.50.
Unity Cafe (3 Sundial Ave., Manchester, 782-7325, has the Red Dragon Grilled Cheese for $7, which is served on Texas toast with mustard ale flavored cheddar cheese, baby arugula, bacon and tomatoes. It is usually served with chips, french fries or onion rings.
Waterworks Cafe (250 Commercial St., Manchester, 782-5088, offers a “grown up” grilled cheese for $7 that is made with Gruyere, provolone and cheddar cheese, as well as bacon and tomatoes, on Texas toast.
Wild Rover Pub (21 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 669-7722, offers a four-cheese grilled cheese, made with American, cheddar, Swiss and gouda, and served on ciabatta bread for $5.99. It is served with chips and a pickle, but you can substitute a side option for an additional charge.


Ooey gooey goodness
How to build a mouth-watering grilled cheese

By Matt Ingersoll

A traditional grilled cheese made with melted cheddar or American on toasty white bread is a slice of heaven in its own right, a childhood comfort food that’s as basic as it is delicious.
“There’s something about a grilled cheese that makes you go back to simpler times when you were a kid and brings you to a warm safe spot,” Sandy Rozek of the Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford said. “The warm toasty bread and ooey gooey melted cheese just screams goodness.”
But as local restaurant owners and chefs demonstrate on their menus, there’s plenty more you can do to build an even tastier grilled cheese. Change up the bread, the cheese and the toppings and you can take your grilled cheese to a whole new, mouth-watering level.
The cheese
Picking a good cheese that will not only be flavorful but will melt well is important in maximizing the quality of your sandwich, according to chef and cooking instructor Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast in Hollis.
“An extra-sharp white or orange or horseradish cheddar is going to give you flavor right off the bat,” she said. “Another cheese that melts really well is mozzarella. … You can use fresh mozzarella if you want, but you don’t get as much saltier taste and flavor as you would from sliced mozzarella at the deli.”
Even combining two or more cheeses together will often enhance the flavor. Rozek said pairing two cheeses with different tastes and textures — like cheddar with smoked gouda, or cheddar with provolone — can make your sandwich even cheesier.
“Gouda melts quick because it’s so soft,” she said. “Provolone and cheddar collectively marry and melt really well together because you have one that is creamier and the other that adds weight to it.”
While you want a good cheese that will melt easily and quickly, Barbour warns not to use a super-soft cheese like brie, unless you’re combining it with a harder cheese.
“You’ve got to cook [the grilled cheese] just right so that the cheese will melt but not become almost liquid-like,” she said. “Using brie on its own will almost become too melted where it’s not going to hold up in the sandwich, so you have to watch how long you cook it.”
Just as important is the kind of pan you use, as well as how long it will take for the cheese to melt.
“You want to use moderate heat to both allow the cheese to melt and the bread to toast,” Barbour said, “but not to go too high because the melted cheese can burn the bread. I like using a cast iron pan, because it heats [the cheese and the bread] evenly.”
The bread
Barbour said the best breads to use for grilled cheese sandwiches are the breads that result in a crisp texture when you are finished toasting them, like white or sourdough bread.
Most restaurants in the Granite State that feature grilled cheese sandwiches on their regular menu allow you to choose from a variety of breads, like sourdough, white, wheat or even raisin bread. But Rozek said sourdough seems to be the most popular option.
“Sourdough crusts up really well,” she said. “It takes in some of the butter that is used to toast it, but at the same time it doesn’t saturate the bread or make it really oily, and there’s nothing worse than an oily grilled cheese.”
According to Tyler Isabelle of the Red Arrow Diner, which has locations in Concord, Londonderry, Manchester and Milford, “about 90 percent” of all of the grilled cheeses sold in a given day are made on sourdough bread.
“We can get pretty unique with our grilled cheeses, doing it on Texas toast or rye bread, but sourdough seems to always be people’s go-to,” he said.
The Bakeshop on Kelley Street in Manchester, which serves two types of grilled cheeses using a cast iron grill press, makes the sandwiches on its own homemade garlic and herb bread. Owner Denise Nickerson said a good sandwich press — what the Bakeshop uses for all of its sandwiches — is useful to have to give any bread that crisp texture.
The add-ons
If you want to add a little more adventure to your grilled cheese, there is a wide variety of sauces, dressings and even meats and vegetables you can add to further enhance the flavor of your sandwich.
The most conventional add-on options are bacon, ham or tomatoes. But some other creative ones include a balsamic reduction at the Bakeshop on Kelley Street, and various meats like steak or red pastrami at the Red Arrow Diner.
For some of the more unique add-ons, manager Rachael Jones of the Firefly American Bistro & Bar in Manchester said it can be fun to pair them with specific cheeses.
“We offer fresh avocado slices you can put on the sandwich, kind of like how you would with a slice of tomato,” she said. “Avocado and pepper jack cheese go fantastic together [on a grilled cheese] and lend to that spicy guacamole type of flavor.”
Barbour said as an alternative way to flavor the bread than simply buttering it, you can use Dijon mustard.
“I started playing around with different things and I thought, why don’t I flavor the bread somehow,” she said. “So I buttered the outside of the bread, and on the inside I spread Dijon mustard.”
No matter what additional ingredients you use, the order in which you add everything plays an important role, according to Barbour.
“If you’re putting something wet like ham or tomato on it, it has to go in the middle of the cheese, or else the bread will get soggy,” she said. “So it just depends on what it is that you’re using.”
At the Copper Door Restaurant, the limited applewood smoked bacon grilled cheese featured  now on the fall menu is elevating its sandwich with cheddar and smoked gouda, baby spinach, Granny Smith apple slices and a house-made bacon apple jam, all grilled together and served with steak fries and maple Sriracha aioli.
“The gooeyness of the cheese just complements the smoky sweetness of the apple bacon jam so well,” Rozek said of the sandwich. 

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