Why You Should Start Grilling The Cheese For Your Sandwich

Sinking your teeth into a warm sandwich is an experience worth savoring. When chewy, charred cheese plays a lead role in the recipe, the handheld meal's profile is elevated even further. Grilling a few slices of your go-to cheese before layering it within the contents of your sandwich is the secret weapon you should always keep in your arsenal. The combination of the crackling sizzle, the pleasantly pungent aroma, and the toasty crust alone is a sensory thrill. Each bite is akin to giving your sandwich a front-row seat to a flavor concert.

When cheese meets the grill, the high heat quickly transforms its texture, giving it a crispy exterior that beautifully contrasts with the gooey, molten interior. The result is a mesmerizing blend of crunch and creaminess, a duet that has the power to take any sandwich to a new level of deliciousness. When it comes to boosting individual ingredients' notes, the grilling process coaxes out the hidden taste nuances of the cheese thanks to a chemistry principle that's known all too well in the culinary world. The Maillard reaction, which yields that signature golden-brown caramelization and fresh-off-the-grill fragrance, imparts a savory, rugged richness that rides alongside the cheese's inherent smooth character, converting an otherwise basic sandwich into a gourmet fare.

While most styles of cheese — such as cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, and gouda — can be tossed on the grill to exude a smoky essence, several varieties of the beloved dairy product fully embrace the gridiron.

Cheeses meant for the grill

Halloumi, for one, adores the grill. Although you can enjoy halloumi uncooked, the white, squeaky, Cypriot cheese's above-average melting point allows for a beautiful sear. Tuck a slice of grilled halloumi into a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich with a mix of your favorite grilled vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic glaze or a spread of hummus. Paneer, a fresh, mild-tasting cheese that hails from southern Asia, is commonly used in curries and other Indian, Pakistani, and Afghan cuisine staples. Thread some grilled paneer cubes onto skewers with veggies for kebabs or rustle up a sandwich or wrap for a wholesome lunch or dinner. Queso panela is a crumbly, tender Mexican cheese that turns wonderfully creamy when grilled. Feel free to pair it with salsa, avocado, and cilantro for a palatable sandwich.

A mega-popular versatile choice for sandwiches, provolone cheese grills to perfection, forming a fried edge while maintaining its melty core. Use grilled provolone in a classic Italian sandwich piled high with cured meats, arugula, and giardiniera. Grilling renews snackable Brie into a velvety, luxurious delight. Nosh on this French icon with prosciutto and a dollop of fig or apricot jam for a sophisticated grilled cheese sammy. Bread cheese, also known as juustoleipä, is a Finnish cheese that, as its name implies, boasts a unique, bread-like texture. When exposed to direct heat, juustoleipä becomes slightly brittle on the outside and soft on the inside. Try it with a dab of lingonberry jam for a Nordic twist.