Giada De Laurentiis Puts Raw Lemon Slices in Her Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: ‘Trust Me’

Lemon slices in your grilled cheese sandwich? Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis assures that not only are lemons and cheese not a strange partnership; they elevate the humble grilled cheese sandwich to new heights. Here’s how to create your own.

Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis
Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis | Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images for NYCWFF

How to put together De Laurentiis’ Lemon Grilled Cheese

The traditional grilled cheese sandwich is not a complicated recipe and neither is De Laurentiis’ take on it (full recipe and instructions here). All you’ll need are a half lemon, sliced “very thin,” sugar, white bread, mozzarella cheese, butter, and Parmesan cheese. The chef wrote of the recipe on her lifestyle and food blog Giadzy: “Yes, you read right – whole (very thin!) slices of lemon go into the grilled cheese. Trust me!”

“What we want to do,” the Everyday Italian star said in her Food Network video for the recipe, “is we’re going to cut [the lemon slices] in fourths. And we’re going to toss them in a little bit of sugar.” The lemon slices are set aside while the other ingredients are assembled.

The mozzarella is sliced and De Laurentiis suggests buttering the outside of the bread. In her video, she used sourdough bread for the recipe. She then grates the Parmesan cheese onto the buttered side of the bread (“we’re going to make the Parmigiano stick to the butter”).

Then, the layering begins: one slice of mozzarella cheese, followed by enough of the sweetened lemon slice quarters to cover the cheese (“that way you get a little bit of lemon in every bite”). On top of the lemon goes another mozzarella slice, and that’s it (De Laurentiis says she likes to “press down slightly and put it in our pan”). The pan is covered with its lid and left undisturbed to “let that melt a little bit longer.”

The result is a crunchy, gooey, and sweetly zesty grilled cheese experience.

Some reviewers of De Laurentiis’ lemony grilled cheese sandwich were stuck on the seeds

A few reviewers of the recipe on Food Network’s site were distracted by the chef’s inclusion of seeds in the lemon slices, or rather her lack of instruction to remove them.

“I would never serve anything with seeds like that, with that said I totally will be making this minus the seeds,” said one reviewer. “I love lemons and just looks awesome!”

Another home cook noted, “If they want you people to like your recipe you should stick to details. The lemon seeds in the sandwich was a real turn-off. She would have blasted a person for the seeds if it was a judging contest.”

Some reviews defended De Laurentiis, as this one did: “She really HAD to state the obvious and tell people to take out the seeds??!! No way, it’s common sense.”

Other home cooks were delighted with the recipe

“This was delicious! The parmesan cheese on the outside of the sandwich gives it great crunch and flavor. The thinly sliced sugared lemon inside gives it a bright note,” said a satisfied fan.

And another home cook concluded, “Made this for my daughter, a grilled cheese aficionado, and she liked it a lot. It was a nice change of pace. The lemon flavor was subtle but you know it’s there.”

Next time you’re thinking of having grilled cheese sandwiches, give De Laurentiis’ Lemon Grilled Cheese a go for an extra-bright twist on this cozy classic.

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