Lately, when friends or family come to visit me in Cleveland they have one restaurant request: Melt. I’ve got to thank The Travel Channel and Adam Richman for that. When Richman visited Cleveland, he took–and won (sorry for the spoiler!)–the Melt challenge. The grilled-cheese-on-steriods packs 13 different cheeses, 3 slices of bread, and a hearty helping of fries to make for 5-pounds of food. Yikes! No way, I’d ever want to eat that much food in one sitting.

But what I did like about his trip to Melt, and the popularity of the restaurant, is that grilled cheese sandwiches are considered, cool, even trendy. Now I haven’t had a Melt sandwich yet (so far the lines have been way too long for me, despite the host assuring me, “It’s not too bad, 45 minutes or so, and that’s pretty short for us). I wasn’t up for waiting. Neither were my kids–so I grabbed some ingredients at the store and told Mr. Squid, “Surprise me.” He did.

Using a few finds from our garden (okay, my basil plant that has survived a whole month–that’s a record for me and growing greens), and sauces and such from the fridge, he came up with ‘the Italian.’ That’s the only name I could come up with for this creation, but if you have a better one, please do tell!

*Note: Mr. Squid has two ‘must-dos’ when it comes to grilled cheese. The first is that all of the main ingredients need to be heated before adding them (“No one likes to bite into a cold part of a hot sandwich”) and second that the slices should be crisped and the cheese melted separately before putting them together at the end.

Here’s how Mr. Squid put ‘the Italian’ together:

  1. First, he added a little basil olive oil to the griddle and then placed thin slices of Roma tomatoes, strips of fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese on top. He let that heat just until the Parmesan started to melt and then set it aside.
  2. Next, he heated a combination of roast beef and smoked turkey on the griddle.
  3. Now that all the mixins’ were heated, it was time to put the sandwich together. He used thick cut Italian deli bread that he’d coated with a thin layer of butter. On the top piece he also added mayo mixed half and half with Balsamic vinegar.
  4. He placed both on the griddle then added the tomato-basil mixture to the top piece followed by sliced peperoncinis for a bit of vinegar spiciness and then a slice of Swiss cheese.
  5. On the other piece of bread he added a slice of American cheese followed by the deli meat.
  6. Once all the cheeses are melted, he carefully pressed the two sides together and pressed them down with the spatula.

There you go–grilled cheese worth the wait. Plus, I didn’t even have to tip the waiter. One of these days, I gotta go to Melt, but for now I’ll keep letting my hubby and kids come up with tasty grilled cheese combos.

Your turn–do you have a favorite grilled cheese creation? Are you a Man v. Food watcher?

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