"Toasty, nutty and fantabulously crunchy, with plenty of oozing cheese" is how Laura Werlin describes the perfect sandwich. Werlin has written five books on cheese, starting with The New American Cheese, and including not one but two books on grilled cheese (the latest is Grilled Cheese, Please!). The recipes here reveal the obsessiveness of someone who admits, "I used to dream about cheese." They range from a mac and cheese topped with more cheese in the form of cheddar crisps to a chopped salad with blue cheese in the dressing and more blue cheese sprinkled on top. Then there's her grilled cheese with andouille, made with both extra-sharp cheddar (for flavor) and Monterey Jack (for meltiness). They're the kind of recipes any cheese fanatic might dream about.
Building a Cheesier Mac and Cheese:
Cheddar A sharp aged cheddar, like Tillamook All Natural, has superb flavor.
Crisps Shred the cheddar and melt in a skillet to serve with the mac and cheese.
Wine Pair the dish with a berry-rich California Pinot Noir.
Paprika adds smoky flavor to this super-creamy dish that includes Fontina, cheddar and mascarpone. Cheese crisps replace the usual bread crumbs on top.
Cooking with Cheese: Fast Cheese Tips
Best All-Around Supermarket Cheese
At a store with few good options, Gruyère rarely disappoints, Werlin says.
Best Melting Cheeses
Werlin's favorites are Monterey Jack, Muenster, Fontina, Gouda, mild cheddar and Gruyère.
Best Uses for Sharp Cheddar
Sharp cheddar is drier than the mild kind, so it stays firmer when heated. Use it for flavor, not for meltiness.