There will always be a special place in my heart for the quintessential grilled cheese made with Kraft singles on white bread. To me, this classic is the late-night snack eaten casually over the sink after a night out with friends (sigh, remember those?). There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but what if we took the classic grilled cheese a little further?? Nothing too tricky or fussy — just a little bit more grown-up and a lot more fun. This month we are sharing 3 new takes on the classic grilled cheese. There is a little something for everyone. Let’s get into the gooey details.
Before we chat about the actual flavor combinations, there are a few key elements of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Let’s discuss each one — hopefully these tips help you make the ultimate grilled cheese!
One of my favorite places to search out cheese is at the cheese counter obviously, but not so obvious to a lot of folks is the little section at most counters of odd-shaped cheese blocks. You can usually snag fancy cheeses for a much cheaper price. Typically, these cut offs are the pieces that don’t quite make the cut for the more uniformed large blocks and it gives you the chance to try a new cheese out without the commitment or the bill of a full-sized block. It’s a great section to browse for charcuterie boards and grilled cheese supplies. As tempting as pre-shredded cheese is, please just skip it. Usually, these cheeses have stabilizers in them. Most of the time it’s just potato starch, but we don’t want it interfering with the melt!
For all of the sandwiches in this post, I used sourdough loaves. It’s my personal favorite for a grilled cheese, however, any artisan, crusty loaf will work great in all of these variations. I advise against the wonderbread for these recipes, though. Let’s be grown ups here!
Other than one version I share below, I will strongly recommend the use of mayonnaise over butter when it comes to toasting. Mayo can handle a higher heat and will give you a superior crisp outside. On a related note, I recommend going the extra mile and toasting both sides of the bread. Start by spreading mayo on both sides and cook the interior sides first, then add your cheese and finish the outside. The toasted inside is a big bonus for texture — plus it helps speed up the melt so your browning and melting wrap up at about the same time. BTW, don’t make the mistake of high heat. Let the sides toast up at a nice medium heat while the cheese gently melts.
In the recipes below, our grilled cheese sandwiches have some help from a few extra ingredients. I tried not to go overboard — I mean, how much can you add before it’s no longer a ‘grilled cheese?’ In the roasted tomato variation, I wrote it with winter tomatoes in mind. I would never normally recommend tomatoes this early in the year, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have to work with what we’ve got! In this case, those tomatoes that are typically flavorless transform into something magical thanks to roasting. And don’t feel like you need to splurge on the tomatoes; the cheap watery ones will do just fine.
Each of these recipes call for herbs and I can’t stress it enough: fresh is best. When it comes to crisping up the mushrooms, it is very important not to season them until after cooking. If you add salt to them while they are sautéing, the salt will draw out the moisture and you will never get the crispy mushrooms that go best with the Swiss cheese.
3 Grown Up Grilled Cheese Combinations You Need To Try:
Thyme & Brie with Fig Jam Grilled Cheese Recipe:
- Brie, in the rind
- Fig Jam
- 2 tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves, stems removed
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- flaky salt
- 2 slices sourdough or other thick bread
In a small bowl combine the thyme leaves and butter with a whisk, making sure the leaves are evenly distributed. Spread the butter evenly on all sides of the bread and toast all sides over medium heat, watching to not burn the thyme leaves. Once the bread is toasted on both sides, spread the fig jam on one piece and cut 1/4 inch chunks of brie onto the other slice. Place the brie slice under the broiler until just melted. Make sure to keep an eye on the brie, things go from perfect to burnt quickly. Assemble the sandwich and top with a pinch of flaky salt.
Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Recipe:
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
- 1 large tomato, cut in half, and seeds removed
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano
- Fresh Basil
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Sourdough or other thick bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds. Fill the cavities with fresh oregano and place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper a bake for about 25-30 minutes. The tomatoes are done when they are roasted on the outside and tender. Remove the tomatoes from the baking sheet, discard the oregano, and set aside. Spread mayonnaise evenly on all sides of the bread, toast the bread with inside pieces first. assemble the sandwich with the cheese and roasted tomatoes. Once all sides are browned and melted add the fresh basil to the inside and server immediately.
Mushroom Rosemary and Swiss Grilled Cheese Recipe:
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary, fresh
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- Swiss cheese
- 2 slices of sourdough or other thick bread
- 1 tbsp olive oil
In a skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the mushroom and brown on both sides, being careful not to crowd them together. once the mushrooms are almost done browning add the fresh rosemary and cook for a minute longer. Remove and set on a paper towel and season with flaky salt. Spread mayonnaise evenly on all sides of the bread, toast the bread with inside pieces first. Add cheese to the inside with mushrooms and toast the outside until browned and melted.
Looking for more easy lunch ideas to try out? Try these:
- Easy Lunch Recipe: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Preserved Lemon Sauce
- Chickpea + Seed + Kale Salad with Miso Yogurt Vinaigrette Recipe
- My Easy Pantry Pasta Recipe
- Recipe // Healthy Veggie Sushi Rolls
- Winter Kale Salad