Grilled Cheese Sandwich Cravings

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Cravings

Bread plus cheese plus heat equals perfection (times 10)

By Aida Mollenkamp

Grilled cheese is the great diplomat of snacks: It pleases everyone (with the exception of the no-dairy and no-wheat contingents). Here are 10 variations on a theme, with a few liberties taken, all warm, gooey, crisp, and satisfying.

1. Apple and Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese. Apples and cheese are a classic snack that improves with the application of heat. Our version puts apple and aged cheddar between slices of walnut bread for a nutty, sweet taste.

2. Asian Pear and Gouda Grilled Cheese. The apple-and-cheese combination got us thinking about other crispy-fruity-cheesy matches. We came up with Asian pear and Gouda, which has quickly become a CHOW favorite.

3. Grape and Taleggio Grilled Cheese. This may seem like a strange pairing for a toasted sandwich, but try it. The grapes get a soaking in grappa to boost the fruit’s floral qualities, and the Taleggio’s meltiness contrasts fabulously against the crunch of the whole wheat bread.

4. Roasted Beet and Chèvre Grilled Cheese. The combo of roasted beets and chèvre is normally found in French salads topped with vinaigrette, but it’s even tastier as a sandwich. To mimic the flavors of the classic café salad, the roasted beets are dipped in vinegar before being sandwiched.

5. Sun-Dried Tomato, Parsley, and Manchego Grilled Cheese. Here we chopped up everything to ensure the flavors blended as thoroughly as possible. The punches of intense tomato, herby parsley, and nutty cheese make for a tasty snack.

6. Sweet Hot Mustard and Jarlsberg Grilled Cheese. The ballpark classic of soft pretzels with mustard, and our boss’s favorite quick bite of Jarlsberg and hard pretzels, turned into a great grilled sandwich. It combines homemade pretzel rolls and mustard, and it’s worth the extra effort.

7. Mozzarella, Prosciutto, and Fig Jam Panino. A sweet-salty take that’s a real crowd-pleaser.

8. Black Forest Ham, Caramelized Onions, and Cambozola Grilled Cheese. Ham and cheese is a timeless combination. It only gets tastier when you toast it up in this sandwich with onions.

9. Sautéed Jalapeño and Aged Jack Grilled Cheese. A makeshift spiced Jack takes shape here. Sautéing the jalapeños mellows their heat and brings out their vegetal taste, while the Jack gives a rich flavor.

10. Banana and Fromage Blanc Grilled Cheese. We whipped this one up for the sweet tooths among us. Fromage blanc and diced banana are mixed with vanilla then slathered on cinnamon toast for a sandwich that’s just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast.

Aida Mollenkamp is a former food editor at CHOW.