Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fig Jam, Basil and Goat Cheese

A sandwich for the front page

When it comes to periodical food porn, I confess that I’m an addict. I’m attracted to glossy magazines like a fruit fly to a tumbler of port; easily taken in by the pin-up shots on the covers of my favorite magazines; Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Vegetarian Times and especially the slickly designed Aussie imports Donna Hay and Delicious.

Just as soon as the February issue of Gourmet fell through the mail slot, I was hooked: the cover photo is a simple, oozy grilled cheese sandwich. It was almost lunchtime and I was hungry, so I went into the kitchen and made one.

It’s rare that I have the time and inclination to try a recipe as soon as it catches my eye. You know how that goes – flag the page and forget about it for a few years.

I had to make some substitutions, because when you have a Spontaneous-Cook-the-Cover episode, you don’t always have every ingredient called for; in this case my pantry was missing both the Taleggio and Fontina cheeses and escarole greens.

Instead, I made my version of this panini sandwich with sliced Raclette, goat cheese and fresh basil leaves. I did have some fig jam on the shelf just waiting for such an opportunity, which was a good thing because the sweet-savory preserves are a fantastic surprise. At first bite, this sandwich made my day - gooey, tangy cheese, grilled, warm bread and hit of fresh basil. I had a very happy lunch.

The only way to improve upon this sandwich recipe would be to add some crisp bacon or pancetta – but really, even a piece of grilled shoe leather would taste better with some crisp bacon or pancetta, so I guess that just goes without saying!

Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam, Basil and Goat Cheese
adapted from Gourmet
Serves one.

  • 2 (1/2-inch-thick) center slices sourdough bread (from a 9- to 10-inch round)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fig jam
  • 2 ounces sliced Raclette or Fontina cheese
  • 1/4 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Brush 1 side of bread slices with oil and arrange, oil sides down, on a work surface. Spread jam on bread slices and top one slice with the cheese. Arrange basil on top of cheese, season with salt and pepper. Close sandwich.
  • Heat a heavy griddle or stovetop-grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the sandwich in the pan; weigh with a sandwich press or heavy skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes, until undersides are golden brown. Turn over with a spatula, and cook on the second side until golden brown and cheese has melted. Slice in half on the diagonal, and serve right away.

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Liza said...

That looks so good. It all goes to show what you can do when you combine an old favorite, a creatively stocked pantry, and impeccable taste.

Karen said...

I know that this is just the kind of sandwich you'd love.

And - why, thanks for the compliment!

Bellini Valli said...

That is too funny Karen. When I purchased the magazine I had a grilled chese sandwich for lunch as well :). Talk about advertising! Mine had Oka cheese, red onions and mesclun :)

Jenny said...

Aren't grilled cheese's the best? You can almost put anything on them and they are fabulous! This one looks wonderful!

JEP said...

What a great idea for a grilled cheese sandwich combination!

Lore said...

Did you say cheese? And then cheese again? I'm all for it :). Karen, they look overwhelmingly delicious!

Rebecca said...

oh my gawd, drool. . .

Tartelette said...

I love sandwiches like that. Goat cheese and fig jam go perfeclty well together as do sharp cheddar and chutney (could not get enough of these while in England!).

PaniniKathy said...

Mmmm...fig jam! I've got to try that, it sounds like the perfect compliment to goat cheese. I agree that pancetta would also be a nice, salty compliment as well. Looks delicious!!

Meghan said...

To. Die. For.

This is amazing looking! Nice blog!

Karen said...

Bellini, wow, that does show the power of good images. But I guess we all know about that!

Thanks, Jenny. How can you go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich?

Hi Jep, I'm glad you stopped by.

Lore, thanks! Cheese will be my downfall. Or something like that!

Rebecca, um, thanks!

Tartelette, I agree. It's worth thinking outside the box when creating a good grilled cheese sandwich! And I also enjoy cheddar and chutney together...

Panini Kathy (what a great name, btw) - I'm glad you agree!

Thanks, Meghan. Cheers!

Kevin said...

A grilled cheese sandwich with goat cheese and fig jam sounds really interesting.

Anonymous said...

That sandwich looks absolutely delicious. I love figs so this recipe is perfect for me.
One suggestion I have is that you try using figs from Holy Food Imports. They are imported from Israel and shipped fresh to your home. I have never been dissatisfied with them once.