For Elevated Grilled Cheese, Infuse Your Fat

Somehow no matter what time of year it is, what the weather is like outside, or what you have in the fridge, the siren call of the classic grilled cheese can reach you. Whether you're throwing American cheddar singles on multi-grain bread, or carefully slicing aged gouda and Honeycrisp apples for open-faced rustic sour dough sammie, the appeal of the grilled cheese is undeniable. 

But sometimes your grilled cheese sandwich deserves a little something extra — though, that doesn't mean you have to run to the grocery store and lose your paycheck at the cheese counter. In fact, it doesn't even need to involve upgrading the bread or the cheese itself. One of our favorite ways to bring new flavor and excitement to the grilled cheese is to pay a little more attention to the fat you're frying the sandwich in. To step up your grilled cheese game, consider infusing your cooking fat of choice with some extra flavor. 

Fat brings the flavor

While the verdict may never be in on what cooking fat delivers the best grilled cheese, the good news is that you can infuse your go-to with extra flavor with minimal ingredients, whether you're team mayo, butter, or olive oil. Basically, you have the choice to add ingredients and infuse the fat in advance of cooking, or once it's hit the pan. 

If you're opting for butter, consider whipping up some compound butter. Compound butters can be made savory or sweet; garlic and herbs are happy additions, as are brown sugar, cardamom, and vanilla, depending on the flavor profile you're going for. Just add your ingredients to room-temperature, butter, mix well, and then form your butter log in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Give your grilled cheese bread a swipe of this for amazing flavor. 

Olive oil is also easy to infuse ahead of time. Heat up a little olive oil in a pan, and add garlic, herbs, or sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes, cool, and then transfer to a bottle. When it's time to cook up a grilled cheese, throw a drizzle into the pan and let the magic happen. 

Even if prep isn't your thing, you can still take advantage of this tip. When you're cooking your grilled cheese, just throw your flavor-infuser into the pan. A whole garlic clove or sprig of rosemary will release its flavors into the cooking fat, giving your grilled cheese a delicious, flavorful crust.