When you feel like jazzing up the traditional grilled cheese sandwich, try this combination of ingredients and flavor to take your grilled cheese to the next level.
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It's true, I've made grilled cheese sandwiches with wheat or white bread and American cheese for quick yet tasty lunch many times. Sometimes, though, I play around with ingredients, fancy it up a bit, and create a gourmet grilled cheese. I came up with this combination, and Mark and I both really loved it, so I decided to share.
This GC sandwich has a bit of an Italian flair. I used pancetta when I'd normally use bacon, and I swapped Swiss cheese for gruyere and pan-sauteed chopped red bell pepper. Then I spread a generous layer of soft goat cheese on the inner sides of the bread for a bit of creamy tang.
What makes a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Gourmet?
Anything you do to fancy up ingredients beyond just American cheese and bread makes a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Another standard grilled cheese ingredient is bacon.
Switch out cheeses and add ingredients that aren't in a basic grilled cheese sandwich, so it's gourmet in my book. Try this recipe, and then get creative. Develop your own gourmet grilled cheese. And please, share it here in the Comments section below!
A panini sandwich is a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich of sorts, but the difference is the way it's cooked. A panini press cooks both sides of the sandwich at once.
Some tips on how to make Grilled Cheese (any)
- Spread plenty of softened butter on the exposed sides of the bread - don't be stingy. The butter browns the bread properly.
- Spread the butter all the way to the edges of the bread. Skipping this step causes the outside edges of bread to be very dry - ugh.
- Don't cook the sandwich on low heat - use medium-low for better results.
How to flip a sandwich without it falling apart
A gourmet grilled cheese sandwich is pretty full of ingredients, so flipping it with a spatula probably will result in the sandwich falling apart. Use this simple hack for turning foods in a skillet, and you'll keep it all in one piece:
I love this California Crispy Chicken Wrap. It features the hot ingredients of breaded chicken and french fries, and I think you'll love it too.
A fan favorite recipe here at The Unfussy Cook is Grilled Shrimp with Old Bay seasoning - give it a whirl, I just know you're going to love it!
Another fan favorite is No-Bake Buffalo Mac and Cheese - give it a try soon!
Ultimate Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 4 slices pancetta or bacon
- 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
- 4 slices light rye or other rustic bread
- 6 tablespoons spreadable goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter more or less, don't be stingy with it
- 1½ cups grated gruyere cheese or Swiss
- Set the butter out to soften ahead of time (this is key!).
- Coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, fry the pancetta to a crisp and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
- In the same skillet, add the chopped red bell pepper and saute until tender. A little bit of browning is fine. Remove from the heat and turn off the flame while you prep the sandwiches.
- On a sheet of wax paper, butter the outer sides of the bread slices generously and all the way to the edges (important!) so that they'll crisp up when you're ready too cook. Flip the slices over and spread a generous layer of the goat cheese on all four slices.
- On two of the slices of bread, sprinkle about ¼ cup or so of grated gruyere over the goat cheese. Crumble the pancetta and sprinkle it on top of the gruyere, then sprinkle the sandwiches with the bell pepper. Add the rest of the gruyere to the slices, and top each one with the other slices of bread, butter side up.
- Heat the skillet to medium-low and place each sandwich in the skillet. Cook until the bread turns golden brown and the cheese toward the bottom is melting nicely.
- Now it's time to flip the sandwich. Watch this method of flipping food in a skillet so it doesn't fall apart - so cool! Use a spatula on the bottom side and apply pressure to the top of the sandwich with a silicone scraper/spatula and turn it that way. Works every time!
- Continue cooking until the bottom side is golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.
- As an alternative, you can use a panini press set to 350℉ to grill both sides at the same time.
- Remove the sandwiches from the heat, slice and serve hot with some chips and a dill pickle spear.