Israel is a panini country. Here it is simply called “toast”, where most houses, including ours has a small panini machine( here called a toaster- you barely see the American-style push down toaster here). Also you can order toast’s in almost any cafe in Israel.
Somehow in my years of becoming a “local Yerushalmi” I forgot about the world of grilled cheese, but became a regular “toast” maker using lots of Zaatar and my favorite, salty white Greek-style cheese called Hemed (חמד).
In any case cupofjo.com posted an article about an upgraded grilled cheese with apples and mustard and brought me back into a sensory world of that buttery, crispy sandwich. I immediately rearranged the “upgraded” in my head to include, ofcourse, zaatar and perhaps mushrooms.
There is a special mitzvah to have a meal after Shabbat called Melaveh Malkah (the “fourth meal” to escort out the “Shabbat Queen” and has many spiritual properties-read more here) and we usually have something dairy- pizza on a laffa bread, “toast” with leftover challah or fatut(kind of like matzah brie but with left over kubaneh which is the Yemenite Bread we eat every Shabbat morning).
But we have been looking for something new to bring into the Melaveh Malkah mix…and there it was, the simple, but semi-upgraded Grilled cheese.
So I surprised my husband with this “new” sandwich and let’s say we enjoyed too much 😮 We made them again the following week, and are now regulars.
For anyone interested in the upgrade, I just used basic white-ish bread or challah (we usually by from Berman Bakery), put butter on the two outside parts of the bread, put inside one slice of regular yellow cheese. a few crumbles of the Hemed cheese, zaatar and optional mushrooms. Fried on both side and there you go. Goes well with olives as well.
So there it is. Enjoy your grilled cheese Israeli style👍😀