Preheat the iron on the “linen” setting. Assemble your sandwich, quesadilla or wrap. Insert it in a standard issue brown paper lunch bag, or wrap it in aluminum foil, and set the iron on top for three to four minutes per side (see diagram A). If the sandwich has a flat surface, let the full weight of the iron rest on the package. There’s no need to hold it in place. For reasons I cannot explain, it’s not necessary to use butter to grease the surface of the bag or the foil (another benefit of this culinary technique). Wrapped store-bought foods such as refrigerated burritos can be heated in their original packaging — as long as there’s no plastic involved — after making a small incision to allow hot air to escape.
In your quest to become an iron man or woman, begin with the simplest form of grilled sandwich: the classic American grilled cheese (probably labeled as such by a French chef). Once you’ve mastered the art of pressing cheese between crisply browned slices of WonderBread, you can expand your horizons to include other international specialties. Try a simple quesadilla with Monterey Jack cheese and few slices of jalapeño pepper melted between two small flour tortillas. Then, when you are ready for a greater challenge, take your cue from the Italians who’ve turned grilled sandwiches into an art form call panini. In addition to a wide variety of cheese, they add grilled eggplant, roasted bell pepper and thinly sliced meats.
Your Basic “Pressed” Cheese Sandwich
1 12 x 12 inch sheet of aluminum foil or 1 small brown paper bag
1) Pre-heat iron on the “linen” setting.
2) Place cheese between the two slices of bread. Either wrap foil around sandwich and pinch to seal, or stick sandwich in the bag and roll up the end.
3) Following the face down method, carefully balance the iron on top of the package for approximately three minutes. Flip sandwich and repeat on the other side for another three minutes.
Music to Iron By: Whatever’s on MTV