The Unexpected Ingredient That'll Amp Up Your Next Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The grilled cheese sandwich became popular in the United States in the 1920s, when affordable meals became more necessary as the Great Depression began. Low-quality American cheese and slices of white bread may not have been glamorous, but that doesn't mean this sandwich doesn't have the potential to be. A grilled cheese allows for a lot of customization, letting you amp up your sandwich from cheap and simple to gourmet. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with blue cheese.

The secret to a better grilled cheese sandwich lies within the cheese itself. The typical grilled cheese may contain American, cheddar, Colby, or Swiss cheese. These are all very worthy choices — they melt well and have a comforting, cheesy taste. Yet with boundless types of cheese at hand, why settle with just that? Blue cheese is one of the best cheeses to use in a grilled cheese. It's funky, nutty, and strong, and it brings these complex qualities with it to the sandwich. A little sprinkle of blue cheese goes a long way in flavor, and it can be paired with any of the typical cheese choices. There are many types of blue cheese, but softer ones with more fat, like Stilton of Saint Agur, melt better than harder blue cheeses – and thus, are better choices for your sandwich. 

Blue cheese pairs well with other exciting ingredients

Now that you've added blue cheese to your grilled cheese sandwich, you might as well keep going. Blue cheese pairs with a plethora of other ingredients that give grilled cheese a more gourmet personality. For a heftier sandwich and a more filling meal, consider adding avocado and bacon to your grilled cheese with blue cheese. Blue cheese is pungent in the best way possible, so it works well with milder ingredients. The fattiness and salt from bacon (not to mention its crunchy texture) are very compatible with blue cheese's sharpness, and the creaminess of avocado will still let the blue cheese's flavor shine through.

If the goal is to upgrade your grilled cheese, you can also turn towards more non-traditional sandwich ingredients. Think of the sandwich as a charcuterie board. What tastes best with blue cheese? Well, its pungent qualities mean it pairs well with subtle and sweet ingredients. Fruits like thinly sliced pears or blackberries give grilled cheese a rounded flavor profile that will completely redefine the laws of grilled cheese for you. If you have reservations about using fruit (even though it tastes incredible), try swapping out your sourdough or white bread for thick slices of brioche. Brioche's sweetness will instantly amp up your grilled cheese while giving the blue cheese a honey-like flavor to harmonize with.