Is there any meal as brazen as grilled cheese on a plate? As a kid, I would hesitate when it was put in front of me, certain that melted cheese, on its own – on a plate of all things – was downright naughty. Arriving on a 10-billion-degrees-hot tin plate straight from the grill, it was dairy in its most provocative form, naked and gooey and glistening with globules of oil that begged to be mopped up to slick lips by slices of squeaky white bread.
Sure, a grilled cheese sandwich is great, but that’s not my childhood. The closest we got to that was a Breville cheese toastie, those glorious symmetrical triangles creating a molten payload entirely worth the trip to A&E for the second degree burns it would impart if not approached with a white flag and furious blowing.
Cheese on toast you say? Don’t mind if I do – if you can be bothered to toast the bread. Grilled cheese on a plate doesn’t need such faffery when you can simply reach for slice after slice of floppy Warburtons, using the spongy centres to temper the tang of undone Extra Mature Cheddar, allowing you to shovel, dab, and pincer, and inevitably, to clean the plate with a final flourish once the dirty little rendezvous is done.
How To Make Grilled Cheese On A Plate
There are some rules: You need a white enamel tin plate that can withstand the heat of a grill. The cheese should be British and straight forward (nothing fancy or blue), preferably Extra Mature Cheddar or Double Gloucester. The latter gets you double points because the orange hue is vaguely alarming, like melted Oompa Loompa.
The cheese should be sliced evenly but not too thick – you don’t want molehills of un-melted cheese ruining the texture. Patchwork the slices onto the plate and grill until bubbling. Transcendent grilled cheese will lift from the plate in one rubbery layer when teased with a fork.
Additions are permissible, but let’s keep it simple. Slices of onion are good. Mushrooms are fine. Tomatoes are tolerated, but they teeter dangerously towards balance in a dish that wears its nutritional deficiency as a point of pride. Any greenery or fancifying should be discouraged or simply laughed out of the room; this is not raclette.
You may add some HP sauce, either spread in a thin layer atop the cheese or on the side for dipping. Adding Worcestershire sauce before grilling works well too.
Finally, my dad should be present. I know this sounds unduly specific, but the joy with which my dad polishes off grilled cheese on a plate is not to be missed. I feel like organised religion would do a lot better at adding to their numbers if they demonstrated even half of his enthusiasm for this dish. Or, indeed, worshipped at the altar of melted cheese and white bread.