Actually you know before you even bite into a grilled cheese sandwich whether it’s going to be what you crave or not. Let’s look at a perfect one, where cheese slowly oozes from the edges of the grilled bread. The bread’s face is an even golden-brown that’s suffused with sweet butter. Pick it up, and you can feel the butter in the bread but it doesn’t leave your fingers greasy—at least, not too greasy, while the crust is crisp yet flexes ever-so-slightly, revealing a layer of tender crumb underneath. Exactly what is and what isn’t a grilled cheese, anyway? Obviously, cheese and bread must be involved, as well as some form of heat. But does an open-faced Reuben count? Or how about a Mexican pambazo, dipped in sauce and griddled, with a million other ingredients?

• For perfection a grilled cheese a closed sandwich, griddled on both sides.

• Have cheese as the primary ingredient most of the time.

• Has to be made with sliced bread. Thus a sandwich made with whole, crust-on loaves like a panino or a Cubano does not qualify.

• Needs to always be served hot all the way through, with the cheese thoroughly melted.

• Should be cooked on a flat, greased surface until golden brown.

• In extreme circumstances it may be cooked on an outdoor grill over an open fire.

• A grilled cheese may never be baked or deep-fried.

Consider doing something much more interesting than a straight cheese sandwich. I have concocted a spinoff of the boring regular one. This is a winner…..try it!

Grilled Cheese with Avocado Mozzarella & Jalapeño Chimichurri

Chimichurri Sauce

2 jalapeños to remove heat remove seeds

4 green onions

1/2 cup cilantro

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

juice from 1 lime

2 teaspoons honey

Additional Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4” slices

2-4 ounces fresh mozzarella slices

4 slices whole wheat bread

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until broken down and well combined, adding more olive oil or lime juice as needed.

Preheat grill pan or regular pan over medium-low heat. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Place on piece of bread, olive oil side down, in the grill pan and smear on 1 tablespoon of chimichurri. Layer with slices of avocado and cheese. Smear 1 more tablespoon of chimichurri on remaining piece of bread and place olive oil side up.

Grill on each side until crisp and cheese has melted.

Yield: 2 servings