The Secret Weapon That Transforms Nancy Silverton's Grilled Cheese

When it comes to quintessential lunchtime cuisine, sandwiches are a staple. From Reubens to BLTs, Cubans to meatball subs, there are so many different sandwich combinations you can make to mix up your daily meals (that said, these are hands down the greatest sandwiches of all time). While there is arguably no crowned jewel of the sandwich world, Americans as a whole do prefer one above all the rest. According to You Gov, "America's Favorite Sandwich" is none other than a grilled cheese.

To make this humble handheld, all you really need is two ingredients: bread and cheese. While you could end your ingredient list there, there are ways to elevate your sandwich and give it a little extra oomph. There are so many amazing grilled cheese recipes out there, from Ree Drummond's recipe, which includes green chili, onions, and tomato, to Gordon Ramsay's recipe, which includes homemade kimchi. Meanwhile, esteemed chef Nancy Silverton also has a secret ingredient that she likes to include in her signature grilled cheese sandwich to take it up a notch.

Calabrian chiles add a zesty kick to Nancy Silverton's grilled cheese sandwich

If you are familiar with Nancy Silverton, you know that she has a great love of cheese. Her restaurant, Osteria Mozza, has its very own mozzarella bar in the center, a brainchild that grew out of a lunch hosted in Silverton's home in Umbria, Italy (via NZ Herald). One day, Silverton invited friends over for lunch and arranged a simple spread that revolved around mozzarella, which included roasted tomatoes, confit garlic, spreads, marinated olives, and grilled bread.

Silverton's signature grilled cheese recipe revolves around cheese, as well, but of different varieties (via Food and Wine). The Californa native includes English-style cheddar cheese as well as caciocavallo cheese or provolone cheese in her version of this classic sandwich. A plentitude of other ingredients is also wedged between the two slices of sourdough bread. Silverton's sandwich features corn, scallions, chopped garlic, and shallots, but the ingredient that really helps it pack a punch is a Calabrian chile.

Calabrian chiles have a dynamic tang to them and a three-dimensional flavor profile. Spruce Eats describes these chiles from Southern Italy as "warm, hot, spicy, smoky, fruity, and pervasive." While these jarred peppers may be zesty, the spice can be best described as a "warming heat rather than an intense burn." If your grilled cheeses have been tasting a little bland as of late, it sounds like Calabrian chiles are a great antidote.