So many ways to up your grilled cheese game? WHERE DO WE START?!
The one we all know and love. Bread, oozy, gooey, melty American cheese, griddled in butter until golden brown. Does life get much better than this? I think not. It does, however, get a bit more interesting...
Grilled Cheese with Antipasti
Roasted red peppers, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and a few torn basil leaves come together with melted mozzarella. I like to fry the whole thing in some of the oil from the sun-dried tomato tin. It's what your grandmother would have made if she owned an Italian deli and also made grilled cheeses.
Classic flavors of ripe sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil, all cooked toasted in extra-virgin olive oil. This might be what your other grandmother made, if your other grandmother were a cheesemaker.
Queso Asado Doble Caliente
Italian not your speed? How about a quick trip south of the border? That would be shredded cheddar (or Jack!) cheese, mixed up with chopped pickled jalapeños and chopped canned chipotle peppers with a handful of chopped cilantro, grilled up between the buns.
Faux Cuban Grilled Cheese
Another classic flavor combo, the Faux Cuban Grilled Cheese isn't quite a cubano (it's missing the roast pork and the crusted bread), but who're you kidding—it's the pickles, cheese, and mustard that make the sandwich, right? As Ed says, "pickles instantly make any sandwich better." I know a lot of Cubans who'd agree*.
*ok, one Cuban. I know one Cuban.
Want to impress your dinner date? Whip up a couple of French Melts. That's a big ol' pile of sweet, caramelized onions (see here for an easy technique to speed up the process) melted with a fat slab of Comté cheese. It's like French onion soup in an easy-to-pick-up, extra-buttery package. Set the table cloth and pull out the fine china, dear, tonight I'm wearing pants to the table!
The Grilled Muffaleeze
I love muffalettas as much as the next guy, but I've often asked myself, how awesome would this be if it were hot? The answer: awesome. With The Grilled Muffaleeze, we combine a real New Orleans-style olive salad made with olives, chopped pickled carrots, cauliflower, capers, and plenty of olive oil, with sliced sopressata, capicola, and melted provolone cheese, all grilled in olive oil. A hot bite of NOLA in your mouth.
Four words: Potato. Chips. In. The. Sandwich.
Ok, five words. Still just as tasty.
Grilled Brie with Nutella
I like a bit of dessert in between my main courses, so we'll make a brief interlude to discuss something that most of us already know: Nutella makes most things better, including a Grilled Brie with Nutella. The key here is to slice the bread extra thick and grill extra slow so that the melted cheese and chocolate ooze in and out of every pore. I'm not going to lie: this is a delicious mess of a sandwich.
The Stuffed Jalepeño Popreeze
Equally delicious and messy: have you ever wondered to yourself what would happen if you turned bacon-stuffed Jalapeño poppers into a sandwich? We sure did. That's why we roasted jalapeños (you can do them directly on an open flame until charred), fried bacon, and shoved it all into a sandwich with American cheese and cream cheese, then fried it all in the rendered bacon fat. Smokey, spicy, creamy—everything you want in a bar snack in convenient sandwich form.
Getting back to basics, the Grilled Kimcheeze is a modern classic, playing off the whole Korean/American fusion thing. Turns out that kimchi belongs in a grilled cheese about as much as a slice of American cheese belongs in a bowl of kimchi jjigae. (That is, a lot.)
Raise a glass of sherry and take a siesta to celebrate this concoction, made with sweet cooked figs, toasted marcona almonds, and young manchego cheese (don't go for the old stuff, or it won't melt). Olé!
The Chili Grilled Cheese Dog
This'll take you right back to the ballpark. Thin-slice a single hot dog, fry it up on a hot skillet, then lay it on top of a slice of bread lined with American cheese. Spoon on some chili, add another slice of cheese, then close'er up and grill in the fat rendered out of the hot dog. Not big enough? A double dog'll do ya'!
The Fatty Melt
A monstrous creation whose origins are unknown (perhaps the Mossy Creek Cafe in Fisherville Virginia?), but gained worldwide infamy when Adam wrote about it a few years ago. What is it, you ask? Only a hamburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as its bun.
Yeah. Shove that on your griddle and fry it.
The Bacon Fatty Melt
A Fatty Melt with bacon, naturally.
Double Bacon Fatty Melt
Want to go one step further? How about the Double Bacon Burger Fatty Melt? Two burgers, 12 slices of bacon, seven slices of cheese, 6 slices of bread,and one hell of a grilled cheese coma.
The Crisp Grilled Cheese
If cheese on the inside isn't good enough for you, how about cheese inside and out? This beauty gets grilled, then re-grilled in a thin layer of parmesan which crisps up on the outside like a cheese cracker.
Grilled Cheese With Tomato Soup-In-One
Finally, there's a solution for those who want to eat their grilled cheese and tomato soup on-the-go. That's right, it's a grilled cheese sandwich with a tomato soup-flavored spread made from sun-dried tomato paste, cream cheese, and a few seasonings stuffed right into the sandwich.
The Grilled Cheese Eggsplosion
One of my favorite breakfasts: cut a hole out of a slice of bread, cook in butter, break an egg into the hole. Well, we wondered what would happen if we built a grilled cheese out of two of those bad boys. We did it, and deliciousness ensued.