This is not your childhood's grilled cheese. This grown-up version of the comfort food we all know and love is so delicious that you will gobble it up with as much gusto as a kid who's been jumping in leaves all day. It's such a simple upgrade, yet it's almost as easy as the plastic-wrapped sliced cheese variety we grew up with. The fig jam is sweet and compliments the nutty and earthy Gruyère cheese perfectly. I seriously couldn't stop taking bites of the sandwiches as we photographed them, and we shot them after a big lunch. They are addicting and soon became a go-to lunch for me this Autumn.
The cheese shop down the street makes a fig jam grilled cheese, but they use goat cheese and I've never liked the consistency of it all. It's very mushy on mushy and too sweet. When I set out to make my own version, I looked for a cheese that could hold up to the fig jam's sweetness and also make the sandwich a little more solid, yet still gooey. So far, Gruyère is the best cheese I've found for this combination.
Everyone knows how to make grilled cheese, right? Well, maybe there is someone out there who doesn't and this is for them!
fig jam and gruyère grilled cheese
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Fig Jam
- Gruyère Cheese
Get a rustic loaf of whole wheat or 7-grain from your local bakery or supermarket and slice off two pieces. Butter up the outside of each slice, using lots of butter- this is no time for self-control. Cut up a few thin slices of Gruyère cheese. Heat your skillet over medium-low heat. Spread the fig jam over the inside of one of the slices of bread. Add the first non-jam slice of bread to the pan, butter side down. Add the slices of cheese and then top with the jam slice, jam side down, butter side up. Wait until the bottom half gets golden brown and flip it once.
Even if you are a grilled cheese master, here are a few tips to take your grilled cheese to the next level:
- Let the butter soften before spreading it on.
- Always use a lid from a smaller pan to cover the sandwich after you flip it. This way the cheese melts, without burning the bread. Often times, the cheese just begins to melt as the second side is the perfect golden color. When you use the cover, it helps the cheese melt faster so the cheese and the breast finish at the same time. (This is a total game-changer.)
- Even though it goes against your better instincts, don't overload your grilled cheese with cheese. I know, I know, how could more cheese be a bad thing? But the ratio to toast, jam and cheese is essential and if you add too much you'll have a half-melted, oozing mess.
- Patience! You may want to crank up that stove to get that sandwich cooking, I get it. You want that sandwich in your belly, now! But if you keep it on medium/low and let it take its time, you'll be rewarded with a perfectly toasted and perfectly melted sandwich.
As you can see, Jamie didn't even finish shooting them before I gobbled one down.
(all photos, jamie grill photography)