Daughter Miriam asked for tomato soup and melted cheese sandwiches for Sunday’s dinner. She was quite particular about what she wanted on the sandwiches—melted Gruyère cheese with fig spread and Japanese mayonnaise. She had recently had a Blue Apron order that combined these ingredients. I suggested that if she was going to have all that, that you should throw in some Dijon to top it all off—she agreed.
I usually make only one or two melted cheese sandwiches at a time. Feeding five people needed a new strategy, if I was going to be able to join the meal—rather than standing over the griddle turning out melted cheese sandwiches. Recently, Cooks Illustrated had an article on making French toast for a crowd. I decided to adapt their technique to make many cheese sandwiches at once. Laying all the sandwiches in a large baking tray and warming them in the oven did the trick.
Karl’s Gruyère Melted Cheese Sandwiches for a Crowd
6-8 oz. Gruyère cheese
1. Place the oven rack on the lowest position and preheat the oven to 300º F.
2. Grate the cheese and set it in a prep bowl.
3. Lay out the bread slices in pairs.
Tip: Usually the slices of sour dough and not even. Two consecutive slices are at least close. Make sure that you do not flip one of the slices, so that they are mismatched.
4. Spread the fig spread on one slice.
5.Spread the mayo and mustard on the second slice.
6. Sprinkle the cheese lightly over each slice.
Tip: The spreads hold the cheese in place as you close the sandwiches.
7. Put the first slice over the second and place the sandwich on the baking tray.
8. Assemble the rest of the sandwiches and 20 minutes before serving, place the tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
9. Flip the sandwiches after 10 minutes.
Tip: The slice of bread on top now should be well browned at this point.
10. Continue baking until the cheese is well melted and the bottom are brown.
11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a minute.
Tip: Depending on the size of your bread slices, you may serve them whole are cut them in half.