The Fresh Market asked its official “Cheese Connoisseur,” (aka Director Of Merchandising, Deli/Prepared Foods/Sushi) Diane Cleven, about insider tips to approach the All-American classic, and here’s what she had to say:
The cheese is the heart of any grilled cheese sandwich. Semi-soft cheeses with medium to high butterfat are the finest cheeses to use because they are the easiest to melt. Examples include Gouda, Havarti, Fontina, Cheddar, Swiss-style cheeses, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Muenster, most Blue Cheeses and soft ripened cheeses such as Brie.
When it comes to selecting a cheese, Cleven advises that all shoppers taste potential cheeses prior to purchase. This helps get a sense for how strong the cheese is and what flavors will pair well.
Hearty breads make the best grilled cheese sandwiches -- especially sourdough, multi-grain or ciabatta rolls. For a special grilled cheese as a delectable dessert, Cleven recommends using challah bread with creamy goat cheese and Nutella.
To make your sandwich a cheese champion, fold in the flavor! Here are a number of toppings that are sure to give any sandwich combination a punch:
- Flavored butters such as curry powder and cayenne pepper
- Fruits including sliced apples and pears
- Pickled red onions
- Onion jam
- Fig spread
- Cranberry relish
- Sliced tomato and fresh basil
- Salsa and avocados
In tribute to National Grilled Cheese Month this April, The Fresh Market suggests the following grilled cheese recipe:
Roast Beef Grilled Cheese with Blue Cheese Butter, Cheddar and Onion Jam
¼ c crumbled blue cheese
3 tbsp butter, divided (room temperature)
2 slices of bread (The Fresh Market recommends TFM Onion Rolls or pumpernickel bread)
4 ounces roast beef
1-2 ounces Yancey’s Sharp White Cheddar (shredded)
2 tbsp Stonewall Kitchen Onion Jam
Mix crumbled blue cheese with two tablespoons butter. Place bread on cutting board and spread mixture evenly on both slices. Add roast beef and shredded white cheddar to only one of the slices. Put a dollop of onion jam on top of the shredded white cheddar. Close sandwich, being careful to keep the butter cheese mixture inside. Spread remaining butter on outside of sandwich and grill until cheese begins to melt. Cut in half and serve.
*Photo courtesy of iStock.