Animal Style Grilled Cheese

The best thing about sandwiches isn’t always the meat. Sometimes it’s the bread. Sometimes it’s the vegetables. But, usually, folks…it’s the condiments. How much more delicious does a perfect burger get when it’s topped with pungent blue cheese? How much more tasty is a turkey sandwich when it is cloaked in tangy-sweet Russian dressing?  That’s what this sandwich is – an ode to all things condiments. It’s important that you don’t use artisinal products here, other than perhaps the bread. You want plain old ketchup, ornery mayonnaise, and the same cheese that you have in the house to gnaw on while you make dinner. This is all about elevating the mundane – so keep it mundane! The secondary players become the star in this sandwich, inspired by Serious Eats and In-N-Out:
Animal Style Grilled Cheese:
1 Large slice bread (preferably sourdough rye), toasted
1 Onion, caramelized
1 Tomato, thinly sliced
1 Leaf iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 Serrano chile, diced, with seeds
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Worchestershire Sauce
White wine vinegar(optional)

1) Make your Russian dressing. The ratio that I use is 1:1:1/2 Mayonnaise: Ketchup:Mustard. You want the taste to be creamy from the mayonnaise and tangy from the ketchup, with just enough mustard to cut the sweetness of the ketchup. Add relish and Worcestershire sauce to taste – be careful with the Worcestershire sauce, because you don’t want the sauce to be overtly salty or fishy, just vaguely meaty and umami. I always use a splash of white wine vinegar to add a degree of sharpness to the dressing, but that is totally optional.

2) Turn a skillet on medium low, and spread the Russian dressing on both sides of the bread.

3) Put the bread in the skillet. There will be smoke, don’t worry about it(Also, your bread should be covered in dressing. Ignore my haphazard effort).

4) In about 3 minutes, or when the bread is crisp, flip it.

5) Top the bread with tomatoes, onions, cheese, and peppers.

6) Put a lid on the pan, and in 3 minutes, or when the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp, remove it from the pan.

7) Lay the iceberg lettuce on half of the bread.

8) Cut the bread in half, put both halves together to make a sandwich, and enjoy with additional dressing for dipping.

 This is one of those down and dirty meals. Something that you might eat yourself, but would be too embarrassed to admit. But why? This just proves what I have always known – the condiment makes the sandwich worth eating, NOT the other way around. The Russian dressing not only makes the bread crispy and golden, but becomes caramelized and sweet when it is fried into the bread. The sweet onions, juicy tomatoes and spicy peppers all play well off the sharp, salty cheese. If you choose a hearty, sturdy bread like rye, you get the additional textural pleasure of chew and crunch along with the oozy, melty, gooey quality of the cheese. That’s why it’s important to always use a condiment.

That’s what she said. 


  1. Stop making me salivate all the time!!!!!

  2. That looks wonderful – except for the tomato, of course!

  3. De-to-the-lish! Will you go to Little Muenster with me? We can compare to see if they are as good of a chef as you! xx

    • I saw a show recently where the guy prveod that you can randomly pick any bread, any jelly and any cheese and make a grilled jelly and cheese sandwich and it would taste good. We used bingo hoppers and had people randomly draw a ball from each hopper and he made the sandwich from it. Everyone seemed to like them.

  4. Damn that looks good!

  5. Feisty Foodie says:

    No! You can't TWSS your own damn posts! Leave some for the rest of us! Jerk!

  6. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @MegRuth-haha, glad you enjoy!
    @Justin-oh don't worry…I almost added avocado to it!! 😉
    @Sarah-yes and YES!
    @Hungry-it so was!
    @Feisty-I know you are but what am I?


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