I love to cook. I find it relaxing, methodic in a way and of course, I love to eat. About a year ago, I had fallen into a slump. I felt like I was cooking the same recipes again and again, and felt like I needed to mix things up a bit. I tried looking on Pinterest and saving anything that piqued my interest, but felt like even then I was pinning all the same things. In other words, I was very uninspired. So, I tried one of those meal service kits – Blue Apron (not sponsored). The first few weeks were great because as a new customer I was able to get a screaming deal to sign up. The meal boxes were new and fun. I’d come home after work to find a large box full of goodies on my doorstep just waiting to be cooked into something delicious. Having my meals planned and ingredients at the ready was a great way to become re-inspired and to cook things I may have never considered before. It also gave me the ability to think outside the box (no pun intended) when it comes to my ingredients and the endless combinations you can create. This grilled cheese recipe is from one of those first boxes.
Now of course, making this now on my own, I don’t follow the recipe card exactly. I purchase the most expensive cheeses I can find, and have even substituted some ingredients when these particular ones aren’t readily available. However, this recipe is fully inspired if not copied by that Blue Apron meal kit, so I thought it necessary to include that information.
This grilled cheese is like nothing you’ve ever eaten before. Well, maybe you have, I can’t say for sure, but I know it was a combination of ingredients I had never considered before. Sweet peppers and fig spread? Say wha? But let me tell you, this sandwich is SO incredibly satisfying. It pairs well with a good tomato bisque (which I will post about the next time I make it), or is great with a green salad. The richness of the cheese is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the spread and the balsamic vinegar lends an interesting kick to the overall flavor. I recommend using the sweet peppers as stated in the recipe, but you could also substitute for bell peppers if you don’t have sweet peppers available to you. I can’t wait to try other cheeses and ingredients as well. I think my next grown up grilled cheese will have bri and apples on sourdough – YUM – but that’s for another day. For now, let’s get into this delightful take on a grown up grilled cheese.
Grown Up Grilled Cheese
(Ingredients listed are for two sandwiches)
4 pieces of sourdough bread (I like the big pieces that come in the rounds from San Luis Sourdough)
8 mini sweet peppers
Fontina cheese (you want about 4 slices per sandwich, my grocery store sells this by the pound, so I usually get a small wedge and eat whatever is leftover as a snack)
Gouda cheese (see note above about cheese, you also want about 4 slices of this per sandwich)
2 Tbsp fig spread
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Olive oil, for cooking the peppers and sandwiches (you could also use margarine or butter for this)
- Begin by slicing your peppers and cheese into thin pieces.
- In a small pan, heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the peppers. Cook until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Once the peppers are finished cooking, add the balsamic vinegar and turn off the heat. Stir to coat the peppers and be careful as the liquid you just added may splatter. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Pull the peppers out of the pan and put aside. Wipe the pan out with a damp paper towel (careful because it’s hot) and return to the stove.
- Assemble your sandwiches in this order – bread, spread, peppers cheese, salt and pepper, bread.
- Return to your pan and heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat (you could also cook these the old fashioned way with some butter or margarine placed directly on the bread, I find that the olive oil lends a good flavor to the sandwich).
- Once the oil is heated, place your sandwich in the pan. Cook until the bread is a golden brown (or however you like your grilled cheese cooked) and flip to repeat on the other side.
- Once sandwich is cooked to your liking, remove the pan and serve immediately.