(BPT) - April is National Grilled Cheese Month but you can celebrate this mighty melted-cheese marvel any time of year. If you want to up your grilled cheese game by trying something new, incorporate specialty cheeses like Havarti and Gouda to get your taste buds dancing to a delicious new beat.
There's no doubt that Americans have a soft spot in their hearts for grilled cheese sandwiches. Collectively, they eat 2.2 billion of them every year, according to NPD Group. The basic grilled cheese - a piece of cheese in between two slices of bread - is a food staple for kids, but it continues to be a favorite for adults as well.
To satisfy a more mature audience, today's home cooks can turn to naturally delicious, family-friendly cheese flavors for an extra kick of flavor and even more gooey goodness in their grilled cheese creations.
'The key to great grilled cheese is using a great melting cheese,' says Heidi Larsen, grilled cheese enthusiast and author of the blog, FoodieCrush. 'For example, Arla Dofino Havarti is creamy, melts easily, and the flavor melds perfectly with just about anything you add to it.'
Havarti has a buttery and gentle creamy taste, is semi-soft and has a mellow aroma. It adds the perfect touch to a wide variety of foods, especially when melted to sublime perfection in a grilled cheese sandwich.
Gouda has a rich, buttery and slightly sweet flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. It is especially wonderful when grated and melted into a sandwich, and is about as good as you can get for a grilled cheese at any time of day - even breakfast.
So step out of the ordinary and try something extraordinary. The following tips from Larsen can help you enjoy a new taste for an old favorite right at home.
Spread the love: One of the easiest ways to play with grilled cheese is to add different spreads to the sandwich. Whether it's a sweet or tart jam, a garlicky pesto or even flavorful mustard, adding a spread to most any flavor of cheese creates a totally different flavor without much effort.
Put a lid on it: Use a quality nonstick pan with a lid. That way, the sandwich gets a golden exterior and the cheese is sure to melt when on a low heat and covered with a lid. Adding a shot of water can create a steamy environment and encourage the cheese to melt even more.
Think outside the sandwich:Another thing people don't always think about is putting your cheese on the outside of the sandwich, instead of just on the inside. Mix grated cheese with butter, garlic and herbs, and spread it on the outside of the sandwich to create a crusty, crunchy but totally delicious bite from the outside in.
To get your celebration going, try Larsen's recipe for a Ham and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, found at ArlaFoodsUSA.com/GrilledCheese, a mouthwatering combination of two buttered English muffin halves heated in a frying pan until golden brown, topped with ham, fried eggs, tomato, arugula leaves, and deliciously melted Arla Dofino Smoked Gouda cheese. Now that's a Gouda way to start the day.
For more recipes visit www.ArlaFoodsUSA.com.