The town of Weston now has its own grilled cheese.
Patricia Gay, a finalist in Artisanal Bistro’s 2012 Grilled Cheese Contest, unveiled her latest creation, The Weston, at the Farmers Market at Norfield Grange on Saturday, April 27.
The Weston is not the standard American cheese on white bread concoction. More upscale, it contains cheddar and smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, and tomato jam on sourdough bread grilled in rosemary-infused butter.
Visitors to the Farmers Market were the first to try samples of The Weston. Half and whole sandwiches were also available for purchase.
Reactions to The Weston were quite positive, with people of all ages calling the sandwich “delicious,” Ms. Gay said. Several children, including Madeleine Revzon, gave it a big “thumbs-up.”
As the assistant editor of The Weston Forum, Ms. Gay is also a culinary hobbyist. Last year, her Three Cheese Crisp Grilled Cheese, containing homemade Parmesan Crisps, was named a finalist in Artisanal Bistro’s Best Grilled Cheese in New York City contest.
This year, Ms. Gay created a new grilled cheese, which she named The Weston. “I wanted to find a way to honor the people I have gotten to know while working at the newspaper, and this seemed like the perfect match,” she said.
Visitors to the Farmers Market said they liked The Weston’s combination of cheddar and smoked Gouda cheeses, the crunch of the bacon, and the tangy homemade tomato jam.
Ms. Gay created the jam specially for the sandwich by adding chopped apples to a traditional tomato jam recipe. “Apples go especially well with cheddar cheese, so I thought it would be good to add apples to the jam and make it a little more like a chutney. The special tomato jam is what makes The Weston a signature sandwich,” Ms. Gay said.
Adding another layer of distinctive flavor, the sandwich is grilled in butter flecked with fresh rosemary. “I personally love the earthy woodsiness of rosemary. It gives the grilled cheese an extra hint of fragrant deliciousness,” Ms. Gay said.
In addition to The Weston, Ms. Gay served samples of her Three Cheese Crisp, which contains homemade Parmesan Crisps tucked between fontina and Gruyère cheeses on sourdough bread. Like the Weston, the sandwich is grilled in rosemary butter.
To accompany the sandwiches, she served Andalusian Gazpacho, a cold Spanish peasant-style soup made with fresh tomatoes, bread, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. “The Weston and a shooter of gazpacho is my take on the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo,” Ms. Gay said.
Steve Saxton and Catherine Kimberly cheerfully volunteered as sous chefs, helping with sandwich preparation, grilling and serving.
As part of the ongoing cooking demo, Ms. Gay offered tips on how to make the perfect grilled cheese.
“The first thing to do is shred the cheeses on the large holes of a box grater. Shredded cheese melts much easier than slices,” she said.
Another tip she offered was to cook each slice of bread and cheese individually at the beginning in order to get the cheese melting. After a couple of minutes, the sandwich is combined and pressed down with a cook’s weight or spatula. “You can even use a brick wrapped in foil as a weight,” she said.
She also recommends cooking the grilled cheese over medium-low heat. “You want the bread toasted and the cheese melted. If you cook the sandwich too quickly the cheese won’t melt. Low and slow is the way to go,” she said.
Cooking the grilled cheese outside at the demo, with just two pans over a hot flame, proved challenging at times, but the crowd was patient while waiting for a taste. “You just have to adapt to what conditions are and go with the flow,” Ms. Gay said.
Lyn Kimberly, grange member and organizer of the Farmers Market, said the grilled cheese was well worth the wait. “The Weston got rave reviews and was a hit. I hope Patty comes back to the Farmers Market next year with a new creation,” she said.