Grilled Cheese with Serrano and Membrillo
Take the traditional idea of a grilled cheese and fly it back to Spain, pairing the Spanish cheese of Manchego and the softer, more yielding Campo de Montalban with Serrano ham and membrillo (quince paste) and olive oil.
The salinity from the cheeses and ham pair perfectly—no surprise—with fruity sweetness of membrillo, a traditional pairing with cheese.
Grilled Cheddar and Fennel with Curry Mayo
This grilled cheese is spruced up with curry mayo and thinly sliced fennel. It's still indulgent, but the curry powder helps enliven each bite, while the fennel adds crunch.
Grilled Bacon, Pear, and Cheese
Instead of feeling like an overstuffed grilled cheese, this sandwich comes out perfectly proportioned: slightly crunchy and gooey, with a nice bright shot of acidity from the pear to balance. Recommended with some soup.
If you think about it, this ham-and-cheese concoction counts as a grilled cheese (right?). Here it's made into a lighter affair by skipping the heavy bechamel for the unctuous "sauce" of the egg yolk, which richens everything it touches.
The Hamburger Fatty Melt
It's a hamburger where the buns are comprised of TWO GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES. 'Nuff said.
Toasted Mackerel Sandwich
To tuna melt aficionados, this combination might not sound so strange. But skeptics should trust us—there's something about the way the fish joins browned bread and oozy cheese.
If ever you find yourself cruising down an Italian autostrada, chances are you'll run into a deli counter where you can order a panino-style grilled sandwich filled with superb cured meats and melted cheese. The toasty layers of mortadella, coppa, soppressata, prosciutto, and provolone will bring you straight to Italia (Ferrari not included.)
Sage Grilled Cheese
Though this sandwich requires a few extra steps—including infusing oil and smashing sandwiches with pots—it can still be prepared in less than 30 minutes. The extra steps are worth it when you taste the sage oil paired with gooey Fontina.
Grilled Cheese and Kraut on Rye
You might not guess it, but sauerkraut and pickles pair perfectly with melted cheese. A little bit of mustard spread on after the sandwich is cooked really heightens the flavor of the kraut.
Grilled Kimcheeze Sandwich
You could go in many directions with this, given all the different styles of kimchi (just use your favorite). Milder cheese provides a nice backdrop for the intense flavors of kimchi, although brave tasters could try something stronger. Most cheddars, jacks, gruyere or swiss-style cheeses will melt well, but don't let that keep you from trying something more adventurous.