By no means in my wildest desires did I feel I would be cooking grilled cheese with Man Fieri over Zoom in the course of a pandemic, but when we have discovered something from the previous 12 months, it is that life is unpredictable.
In honor of Nationwide Grilled Cheese Day on April 12, and as a part of Fieri’s yearlong partnership with King’s Hawaiian, the chef provided up some non-public teaching classes to show individuals tips on how to make his “Final Mac ‘n Cheese Grilled Cheese” sandwich.
As a grilled cheese connoisseur who mastered the meeting of Man’s BBQ Trash Can Nachos in 2020, I needed to settle for. And whereas I am joyful to report that the sandwich was — as Man would say — “dynamite,” the cooking course of was…not. Should you thought Zoom conferences had been chaotic, multiply that by 15 and also you principally have a Zoom sandwich-coaching session.
However, we persevered. And I am right here to share the thrilling story and recipe.
Gathering the sacred elements
To kick issues off I unpacked the grilled cheese elements, which had conveniently arrived on my doorstep earlier that morning.
Should you’re trying to recreate this sandwich, here is what the recipe requires:
1 package deal of King’s Hawaiian Sliced Candy Bread
4 slices of provolone cheese
1 pound of free Italian sausage
1.5 cups of mac and cheese
Non-stick cooking spray
To make the mac and cheese from scratch, nonetheless, you may additionally want the next elements:
1 cup of American cheese, cubed
½ cup provolone cheese, shredded
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup smoked gouda, rind peeled and shredded
2.5 cups of half and half
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sizzling sauce
½ cup of sizzling water
1.5 quarts of cooked elbow macaroni (1 pound dry pasta)
Kosher salt and freshly floor black pepper
The 30-minute prep
The grilled cheese solely takes a breezy 10 minutes to prepare dinner, however the sandwich takes a bit longer to prep as a result of extra mac ‘n cheese and sausage elements.
Earlier than hopping on Zoom with Man I used to be advised to boil the pasta till it was al dente and set it apart. After Man known as in and we exchanged some charming sandwich banter, I carried my laptop computer to the range and we launched into our cheese sauce journey.
I introduced the half and half to a simmer in a big pot, and in a real Schitt’s Creek second I stood there — Man gazing at me via my laptop computer display — and folded within the cheese. I threw within the cubed American cheese, the shredded provolone, the shredded cheddar, and the shredded gouda, and I thanked the heavens above that I wasn’t lactose illiberal.
As I smelled the pleasant mix of cheeses, I whisked, and whisked, and whisked some extra for good measure, and when the cheese was adequately melted and blended into the half and half, the sauce thickened and I added the cooked pasta to the pot.
(Notice: At this stage within the recipe you are additionally suggested so as to add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of sizzling sauce, and “sizzling water as wanted.” Did we do this? No! We forgot. However we’re solely two people on Zoom. What the heck would you like from us? One other notice: The recipe additionally requires salt and pepper in some unspecified time in the future, however would not specify which level, so I assume now could be a superb time. You channel your interior Man Fieri and do no matter you’re feeling is true, although. Fortunately, I can verify for those who neglect to make use of any of the above elements the mac n cheese will nonetheless style nice.)
After you’ve got pulled a David Rose and folded within the cheese, fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce, put it off to the facet, and change to sausage mode.
Fortunately my sausage arrived cooked, so all I needed to do was warmth it up in a pan. However to prepare dinner yours the recipe advises you sauté it over medium-high warmth for about 5 minutes and break it up because it cooks. As soon as the sausage is browned, drain any extra fats, you then’re able to assemble your sandwich.
The expert meeting
Since this is known as a tenting sandwich, Man’s official King’s Hawaiian grilled cheese requires using a tenting press — a hardcore fly swatter-looking sq. forged iron sandwich press that may be held over a campfire flame or used over the open flame of a fuel range.
Should you’re an unseasoned camper with an electrical range, like myself, there’s nonetheless hope. You need to use a panini press, a griddle, or actually any skillet you’d usually use to prepare dinner a grilled cheese in to make this sandwich and it will nonetheless get the job accomplished.
King’s Hawaiian despatched me a panini press for the teaching session, and after heating it up I tried to spray the insides with non-stick cooking spray like each good chef ought to. Nevertheless, within the spirit of Zoom chaos I encountered a pleasant nozzle mishap, so Man advised me to run to the fridge, seize some butter, and rub that on the insides of the press as an alternative.
As soon as I ensured the sandwich would not stick, I positioned a bit of bread on the press, adopted it with a slice of provolone cheese, a few half cup of macaroni and cheese, two teaspoons of crumbled sausage, one other slice of provolone, and a second slice of bread.
I briefly admired the culinary tower earlier than me, closed the panini press, and looked for a clamp to lock it or a temperature setting to regulate. Naturally, neither of these issues had been current on the press earlier than me (enjoyable!) so I — very professionally — weighed the lid of the panini press down by putting the pot of mac and cheese on high.
As a first-time panini press person who was painfully unfamiliar with this machine that arrived on my doorstep minutes earlier, it turned clear that I used to be a rookie. The sheer quantity of smoke and sizzles that rose from the tiny grill in lower than a minute admittedly made me nervous, and for a quick second I feared I might begin a small kitchen fireplace in entrance of Man Fieri on Zoom. I prematurely lifted the highest of the press to test on the sandwich earlier than the required two to three-minute prepare dinner time had handed, and if I can give you a bit of recommendation: Do not do this!
If you’re ever making this grilled cheese with Man Fieri in your kitchen over Zoom, do not elevate the panini press when your coronary heart tells you to — elevate it when Man tells you. In any other case or else he’ll be compelled to dad-yell at you: “That is not burned, Nicole! Who’s the coach right here?”
The sandwich might sound and really feel prefer it’s burning to a crisp in there, however apparently that is simply how panini presses work generally. Who knew! Although, in my protection, I used to be going by this single food-staged image of the grilled cheese I would seen, which seems to be fantastically golden and in no way burnt. 👀
The style take a look at
After the correct cooking time had handed (sorry, Coach Man) I eliminated the sandwich from the panini press and took a giant previous chew. Let me let you know, for all of the chaos that ensued whereas cooking the grilled cheese, that factor was MONEY.
It was my first time tasting King’s Hawaiian bread, and the slight sweetness of the toasty slices completely complimented the savory flavors of the cheese and sausage. The slices of provolone made for some melty, stringy cheese pull goodness, and the mac and cheese was a scrumptious shock that added some critical texture. The style of the sausage is what actually set the sandwich aside out of your conventional grilled cheese, although. 10/10, would make once more. And I did!
After my video chat with Man ended I confronted my newfound culinary worry and fired up the panini press yet another time. I made one other particular grilled cheese sandwich, and am joyful to report that I am a professional at meeting now. The second sandwich actually sealed the deal for me, and whereas I like a plain previous cheese-only grilled cheese, I believe the subsequent time I eat one I will be lacking the additional Fieri pizazz.
You possibly can study extra about Man’s partnership with King’s Hawaiian and see the total recipe for Man Fieri’s “Final Mac ‘n Cheese Sandwich” right here.