Happy National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! (Seriously, who makes up these days?) Can you think of a better way to celebrate than to chow down on a nice warm gooey grilled cheese with fresh tomatillo salsa? Nope? Me neither!
The standard grilled cheese is always a hit. Sliced bread, American cheese, a smear of butter. Makes for a quick and tasty meal (although not terribly healthy). However, if you want to really elevate your grilled cheese to drool-worthy status there are a few key factors you need to consider:
1. The bread. Find yourself some thick, crusty, straight from the bakery bread. Slice it yourself. Normally, I’m all about whole wheat, but for grilled cheese, sourdough reigns supreme.
2. The cheese. Please don’t use Kraft Singles. Splurge on the high quality cheese in the deli section. It’s worth it. Cheddar is always a good choice, but if you want to get fancy, try some gruyère, fontina, or pepperjack!
3. The toppings. This is the game changer flavor wise. Also the time to add in some healthy nutrients! I always try to squeeze in at least one veggie to my grilled cheese. Thinly sliced tomatoes, spinach, arugala, red peppers, or chiles all make great additions. You can even go crazy and add fruit! Ever tried a pear and brie grilled cheese? It may sound strange, but it’s actually delicious!
Tomatillos were my veggie topping of choice for this sandwich. Tomatillos are small green tomatoes, very popular in Mexican cuisine. Tomatillos are usually eaten cooked in sauces, as opposed to fresh like red tomatoes. They come in little husks which needs to be peeled off. The tomatillo salsa compliments the pepperjack cheese perfectly in this sandwich and adds another dimension of flavor. The salsa recipe is from Epicurious.
A note on nutrition. If you are trying to be calorie conscious you can still eat grilled cheese. However, you probably shouldn’t be ordering them at a restaurant (think loads of butter and cheese). For a lighter grilled cheese, use one ounce of cheese (one square slice or 1/4 cup shredded) and only butter one side of the bread. For melting purposes, you still want to heat both sides of the bread.
What is your favorite type of grilled cheese? Do you have any fun flavor combos to try or do you prefer the classic?
- Thick Sourdough bread
- 1 ounce pepperjack cheese
- 1 ounce cheddar cheese
- 1-2 TBSP tomatillo salsa
- 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
- butter for grilling (use sparingly)
- 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
- 1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and chopped
- ½ large white onion, cut into 4 wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Coarsely purée tomatillos, chile, onion, garlic, water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender.
- Transfer to a large heavy skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature, then stir in cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste.
- To assemble grilled cheese. Butter bread. Grill on each side.
- Add salsa, cheese, and avocado to one slice. Cover with hot slice of bread.
- Grill for one minute on medium heat.
- Flip over and grill for one more minute until cheese is fully melted.