Make my sammich interesting!
September 10, 2010 9:49 AM   Subscribe

What do you put on your grilled cheese to jazz it up?

I enjoy the occasional grilled cheese sandwich, and until I met my partner I'd only ever made it the "old fashioned way"-- plain (once in awhile I might cook it with a tomato slice stuck in the middle). He puts tomato and dill pickle slices on his after removing it from the pan. It is delicious. I'd never heard of this particular combination, and that makes me think that there may be many other awesome combinations I am missing out on.

Fire away!
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (102 answers total) 160 users marked this as a favorite
I have not eaten red meat since the eighties, and the only time I miss it is when I have to make grilled cheese sans bacon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2010

Bacon, of course.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2010

Bacon, tomato, and avocado.

At what point does it stop being a grilled cheese then?

It's truly one of my favorite sandwiches though.
posted by TheBones at 9:51 AM on September 10, 2010

posted by TheRaven at 9:51 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I don't have much to say about combinations, but grilled cheese on a barbeque is a terrific upgrade. Use crusty bread and olive oil in place of butter.
posted by juliapangolin at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2010

Instead of bread, use tortillas and make quesadillas. Top with salsa, guac and sour cream.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2010

Look at Juliet Banana's post about her grilled cheese party. All sorts of good ideas in there. (I totally stole the idea and had my own grilled cheese party in February 09—it was a smash hit.)
posted by ocherdraco at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2010 [5 favorites]

Spicy mustard, tomato.

Old Bay.
posted by Pax at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

tomato and ham on a cheddar grilled cheese.

But I like to make an Italian one: ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh basil from the garden, and italian seasoning. I sometimes put ham and/or tomato in this one too.
posted by CathyG at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

apples and gruyere and arugula!
posted by anya32 at 9:53 AM on September 10, 2010 [6 favorites]

grilled cheese with:

- very good tomato, bacon, a scrape of whole-grain mustard. The ultimate.

- ham, thinly sliced pickles;

- a layer of chopped chives (or other herb) with mild cheese.

- duxelles

- onion jam

- chutney

- roasted green chili

Basically, grilled cheese will always be good with something salty/sour/sweet/spicy to play off the cheese..
posted by peachfuzz at 9:54 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

- Mustard mixed with mayo (usually a 1-to-2 ratio) and smeared on the bread prior to cookin'.
- Bacon Salt - mmmn!
- Thinly sliced Granny Smith apples.
- Minced Peppadews.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:54 AM on September 10, 2010

Make it inside out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:54 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Giardiniera, but I'm tempted to put it on anything since I just made a batch...
posted by advicepig at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010

Bacon + honey + bananas -> The Elvis!
Smoked cheese and tomato.
A friend made a 'dessert grilled cheese' with almonds, mascarpone, and an amaretto drizzle.
posted by mkb at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010

Ha ha, ocherdracho totally beat me to the Grilled Cheese Party post! Here is a photo of the spread from that party with neatly annotate notes designating pretty much anything you could ever want to out on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Compound butters are the jam.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mmm, grilled cheese. I like it with any of the following:
- jam, sweet or savory. A great favorite in my house is my onion-garlic jam, which makes cheese sandwiches INSANELY OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD DELICIOUS.
- sauteed mushrooms.
- like your partner, I like a tomato slice in my grilled cheese, but I usually pan-sear it for a few seconds in butter or oil to reduce some of the juiciness, then add it to the uncooked sandwich.
- if I only have bland cheese (mozzarella or ricotta or provolone), I make a pizza sandwich with tomato slices or sauce, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
- leftover cooked vegetables. You'd be surprised how well they marry with the cheese: spinach or broccoli (chopped) or zucchini or greens. Sprinkle it with a little fresh-grated nutmeg, too. Mmm.

I usually add only one at a time to keep the flavors from getting to complicated, but sometimes complication is just what you want!
posted by Elsa at 9:55 AM on September 10, 2010 [9 favorites]

Oven roasted tomatoes. So easy, especially now that it's cool enough to run your oven for a while.

1. Cut a bunch of tomatoes in half vertically. I've had the best luck with romas and grape/cherry-sized ones.
2. Lay them cut side up on a baking pan, which you've covered with parchment paper or foil.
3. Bake them at 225 Fahrenheit for three hours or so. This is pretty flexible. I like them them still juicy, but you can bake 'em until they're chewy.
4. Remove from oven. Try not to eat them right away.

So, for the grilled cheese: slice 'em up a little (or not! Whatever you'd like) and layer them with the cheese.

Other tasty things:

1. cheddar cheese and sliced apples
2. anything and caramelized onions
3. stronger flavored cheeses and jam
4. thin slices of fig oh yes please
5. A smear of: aioli, tapenade, pesto, or tahini.
posted by punchtothehead at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fry the bread itself in some kind of fat.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 AM on September 10, 2010

That dessert sandwich may have used brioche or something similar for the bread, too.
posted by mkb at 9:57 AM on September 10, 2010

Honey mustard! And an apple is you are using a sharp cheddar.
posted by quarterframer at 9:58 AM on September 10, 2010

Oh, and I favor a good basil pesto, or sometimes some cilantro and a little adobo sauce (like canned chipotle peppers are packed in).
posted by clavicle at 9:59 AM on September 10, 2010

Gruyere on Calabrese bread with sundried tomato pesto.
posted by Beardman at 10:01 AM on September 10, 2010

Use amazing cheese. Italian truffle cheese makes a glorious grilled cheese sandwich. I also like tomatoes and mayo. And Marmite. (Not all on the same sandwich.)
posted by elsietheeel at 10:01 AM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Local vegetarian restaurant does The Smelt, which is a grilled cheese with fresh spinach leaves. It's a wonderful way to eat your vegetables: surrounded by cheese and butter and really good bread.
posted by 100watts at 10:02 AM on September 10, 2010

When the sandwich is finished, put just a little béchamel sauce on top, sprinkle it with a little strong cheese, back under the grill for a few seconds, sprinkle with a little fresh herbs: >heaven.
posted by ouke at 10:06 AM on September 10, 2010

Cream cheese and tomatoes! (in addition to the slices of cheese)
posted by rrrico at 10:10 AM on September 10, 2010

Have a look at The Grilled Cheese Truck's menu for some ideas. For me, the simplest, best thing you can do to a plain grilled cheese is add tomato in soup or slice form and a parmesan crust. Using dill butter is nice too.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:11 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Around here, you can buy salami with a coating of parmesan cheese on it. Thin slices of parmesan-coated red-wine-infused salami in a grilled cheese with some good, crumbly, old cheddar is one of the best things there is.
posted by LN at 10:11 AM on September 10, 2010

Thick cut bacon and roasted red peppers!
posted by teragram at 10:11 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oregano and a little garlic.
posted by stevis23 at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2010

I like to keep it simple, but a static grilled cheese can get a bit boring. I like to jazz it up by putting butter down on the bread and then create flavor "zones" with tiny sprinkles of garlic powder, salt, and Italian herbs, each in a separate section. Then the cheese. I don't use so much of the herbs that it alters the flavor noticeably, but just enough so the tongue doesn't get bored.

Mustard is quite good too, and if you're feeling creative (or have a cheese that browns well), go open face and double your pleasure. Two bases with all the fixings on top.
posted by jwells at 10:15 AM on September 10, 2010

pesto is fantastic, the way that it mixes with the melted cheese. one of my favourite cafes does it that way. the people at one of my other favourite cafes, Le Lapin Presse, work magic with their grilled cheese sandwiches. they use curry, apples and pears, among other things, and they pair them up with particular cheeses and the way that the combinations work is really magical. sadly, I can't find their menu online.

when I am making my own sandwiches I like to add a bit of mustard, because I especially like mustard, or horse radish, or dip it in ranch dressing as I am eating it. depending on the cheese, I can see hummus or vegepate working quite well.

oh, and there's a place in Toronto that makes a fantastic brie and avocado sandwich.
posted by spindle at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2010

Good God this is like PORN!

I'll have mine with Bleu Cheese and walnuts, please.

And maybe one with fried okra.
posted by matty at 10:29 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love pesto on my grilled cheese.

A few pepperoni slices and a spoonful of marinara is also a great combo!
posted by MorningPerson at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My mom always sliced a big onion and put a few rings onto the cheese before frying. As a kid I hated this, but now I love it.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

You dip your sandwich, cut into triangles, in your tomato soup!
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2010

Avocado always makes grilled cheese special.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:38 AM on September 10, 2010

If you have any access to New Mexico green chile, a bit of that chopped up with some tomato makes for a phenomenal grilled cheese.
posted by joedan at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2010

The Double-Fried Cheese and Curried Onion Sandwich

OK, technically not grilled, but close enough, and this is definitely a good way of making a sandwich. It's also a good way of giving yourself a heart attack, but it's a sacrifice worth making.

Cut up half an onion, and start frying it in a pan with a little oil and half a teaspoon of curry powder. When it starts to go brown and soft, scoop it off to the side of the frying pan to keep warm, stick a little more oil in, and put two slices of bread straight onto the pan. When the bread goes brown and crunchy underneath, flip both slices and put cheese on top of one of them (the heat coming up through the bread should start to melt it).

When the other side of the bread has also gone brown and crunchy (and the cheese has melted a bit), scoop the onions onto the cheese, put the empty slice on top, and fry the entire sandwich briefly on both sides just to finish it off. Cut, eat, consider surgery.
posted by ZsigE at 10:46 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by odacrem at 10:46 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sriracha, or the Chili Garlic sauce made by the same company (Huy Fong.)
posted by ErikaB at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2010

For a change, grate the cheese, mix it with something, and run the open faced sandwich under the broiler. I recently made a spread with parmesan and romano cheese, softened butter, and the pesto herb mix from the Spice House, and broiled a lot of that on sourdough. This is also good with Italian scamorza (a mozzarella variant that is often served pan-fried, like grilled cheese without the bread).
posted by BibiRose at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I spread peanut butter on top my basic grilled cheese. Just keep a glass of milk handy.
posted by m@f at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2010

A thin layer of tuna fish salad and a couple of lovely heirloom tomato slices.
posted by bearwife at 10:59 AM on September 10, 2010

Straight from my Googledocs recipe file:

Sauteed Jalapeno and Aged Jack Grilled Cheese
From Chowhound

Makes 2 sandwiches.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 medium jalapenos , seeded and thinly sliced lengthwise
about 1 cup (3 ounces) grated aged Monterey Jack cheese or a habanero Mexican cheese blend (we're not fancy enough for aged cheese, ha)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
4 (1/2-inch-thick, 7-by-3-inch-long) slices fresh, soft and chewy country bakery bread

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When it’s heated, add oil and jalapenos. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and saute peppers until tender, about 5 minutes. Set jalapenos aside and let cool slightly, reserving leftover oil in the pan.

Combine cheese and jalapenos in a small bowl. Spread butter on 1 side of each slice of bread.

Return the pan to medium-low heat. Once the pan is warm, add 1 slice of bread (buttered side down), top with cheese mixture, then close sandwich with second bread slice (buttered side up); repeat for the second sandwich. Cover pan loosely.

Cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes per side.
Personal Note: This has been my breakthrough grilled cheese sandwich, not for the particular flavors involved (though they are very very nice) but because I finally ended up with the texture I was longing for based on the precise levels of heat, cook times, and most importantly the note to cover the pan--THAT was what I was forgetting when trying to replicate my mom's seemingly simple but delectably crispy-on-the-outside, melted-and-oozing-on-the-inside pan sandwiches from childhood. Before this, I kept either burning my sandwiches to black while the insides remained cold, uncooked, and solid, or the entire sandwich absorbed so much oil and butter in the pan it was just a soggy, pale mess. I even resorted to doing them in the Foreman grill, which was marginally better but still dry and uninspiring. I mean, hey, if you're going to bother making a hot grilled cheese sandwich you want the real thing--oozing cheese with big buttery taste and crispy texture. This finally sealed it.

The other thing is, adequately softened butter is KEY particularly when you splurge and use decent, real bakery bread--if your butter's not soft enough, the bread will tear and you'll get uneven browning with chunks of hard butter on spots in the bread and other areas completely dry. If you try to compensate by adding MORE hard butter, you'll just end up with bread covered in way too much cold butter, leading to a soggy, uncrispy sandwich. My trick to softening the butter without wasting a ton of time waiting for it on the counter--since the time of year you probably most want a grilled cheese is when it's cold!--is to leave it out in a small bowl spoon-softened quickly when you amass your ingredients, then, once you've removed the chiles from the pan, hold the bowl near or over the warm pan and soften again with a spoon. The residual heat softens it up nicely without melting.

I was afraid the sandwich would be too spicy for Robert's delicate sensibilities but first cooking the chiles in the oil you later use for the sandwich is brilliant; you get homemade fresh chile-infused oil and smoothed out whole-chile flavor. So good. We even used the habanero jack-cheddar blend with the chiles and it still wasn't too spicy for comfort, just right, and a nice foil to all the buttery richness. Yum. And so fast and easy!
And it looks like this.
posted by ifjuly at 11:01 AM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I get a lot of mileage out of just the slightest touch of wasabi.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 11:08 AM on September 10, 2010

At home, we made grilled cheese sandwiches with gruyere, smoked beef and tomato. Highly recommended.
posted by redyaky at 11:09 AM on September 10, 2010


Also a grilled cheese with Brie cz as the cheese and dark chololate melted inside,is great sprinkled with cinnimon and sugar. omg
posted by WeekendJen at 11:11 AM on September 10, 2010

Response by poster: Wow, these all sound amazing! Juliet Banana, your party spread is pretty incredible. What a great party idea haha
posted by torisaur at 11:18 AM on September 10, 2010

You can also experiment with different cheeses. Blue cheeses are tasty, especially with tomato, which gives the salt somewhere to go. Goat cheese can also be good (again, tomato recommended), but I would suggest a firmer, aged goat cheese. Fresh goat cheese is likely to become a bit too runny as it melts.
posted by jedicus at 11:20 AM on September 10, 2010

Brie, apple slices and nutmeg.
Experiment with spices, I liked the cheese with apple, but add the nutmeg and good lord! It's a billion times better. I've tried other combos as well, but can't remember more at the moment... cinnamon is good with cheddar I think.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2010

Every time I'm in Providence I go to the Rue De L'Espoir for Annie's gooey grilled cheese. It's on the lunch menu but I've gotten it for a late breakfast too.
posted by Runes at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2010

Since moving to the Carolinas, I have become incredibly fond of putting the sweet-potato based Cackalacky Spice Sauce on my grilled cheese. I'm not sure if you'd want to buy it from the Internet (I mean, I know I would, except that I can get it in town here), but if you're game, it's awesome on grilled cheese. And it's great for all your other condiment needs, as well, I think -- with fries, on chicken, stirred into chili...
posted by k8lin at 11:35 AM on September 10, 2010

Brown sauce! It's the best.
posted by daisyk at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2010

Um, I came in to say tomato and dill pickles, but I see you've got that one covered. Here are some other things I add to grilled cheese:

-tomato and spicy mustard
-tomato and sweet pickles
-multiple kinds of cheese, usually one spreadable and one in slices or shredded (e.g. cream cheese and sharp cheddar; herbed cheese spread with swiss)
-very thin slices of onion

Or, any combination of the ingredients above, really.

Finally, the inside-out grilled cheese sandwich mentioned above is delicious. I heartily recommend it.
posted by pemberkins at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2010

Banana peppers & chipotle sauce! Mmmmm...I'm craving one now.
posted by pecanpies at 11:47 AM on September 10, 2010

My perfect grilled cheese sandwich:

1. A lot of butter on the bread. Toast the bread in the pan, with butter coating the pan, refreshed as it soaks into the bread, and with butter rubbed into both pieces of bread.
2. Two kinds of cheese. It doesn't matter what kind of cheese, so long as there are two kinds, ideally with different colors (presentation counts!)
3. A slice of tomato. Really, I don't know how anyone can eat grilled cheese without tomato. Put the tomato between the two slices of cheese.
4. Chopped, fried onions. Not a lot, mind you, but some. Fry them in the pan-butter as you're toasting the bread, and then spread them on the cheese before you drop the tomato slice and the other slice of cheese.
5. Vital step: once the pieces are assembled, use the spatula to crush the sandwich. Make it nice and flat, as flat as you can make it, so that it's almost panini-like.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no better way, and the only thing that needs to vary is the type of bread, type of cheese, and how burnt (or not) you make it.
posted by davejay at 11:49 AM on September 10, 2010

Use two slices of raisin bread with a couple slices of American cheese. Sprinkle cayenne pepper lightly on the cheese before frying.
posted by yfatah at 12:12 PM on September 10, 2010

Another simple one: just add worcestershire sauce!
posted by bunyip at 12:14 PM on September 10, 2010

1. Pumpernickel Bread
2. Cheese: A Good Swiss + Colby/Muenster/Jack
3. Sliced tomato
4. Sliced Avocado
5. And here's the kicker: Tartar Sauce. In it's absence you can blend mayo+sweet relish.

Grill it with butter in a pan obviously, and eat with some sweet potato fries.
posted by MasonDixon at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

F me. "its"
posted by MasonDixon at 12:17 PM on September 10, 2010

Crushed garlic and fresh cracked black pepper.

Mushrooms if I'm feeling fancy.
posted by Ahab at 12:21 PM on September 10, 2010

Another vote for sweet pickles with an open face 'sandwich'.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:24 PM on September 10, 2010

Thinly sliced onions, capers and spinach. Switch to swiss cheese. Yum.
posted by Kurichina at 12:29 PM on September 10, 2010

I'm also going to toss in a tip for buttering the bread. When making grilled cheese, you want 2 slices of bread with the butter (or oil) on the outside, but it's very hard to do that without getting yourself all covered in butter.

I butter each slice of bread, then put those 2 sides together so it's like you just made a butter sandwich. Put that on the counter and pile your cheese, tomato, ham, sauce, spices, etc. on top of the stack. When ready to cook, gently separate the 2 pieces of bread, pick up the top piece of bread with all the fillings on it and place it butter side down in the pan. Then pick up the remaining piece of bread and place it butter side up on top of your fillings. Voila - no butter on your hands.
posted by CathyG at 12:37 PM on September 10, 2010

Pickled banana pepper rings.
Really tasty, and always in the fridge.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 1:20 PM on September 10, 2010

Ham and Pear slices
posted by jpdoane at 1:22 PM on September 10, 2010

Our Canadian dairy board people just ran a grilled cheese contest at the CNE (end-of-summer exhibition) - there are lots of good ideas and some recipe links in this article about the competition.
posted by purlgurly at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My husband makes grilled cheese with very sharp cheddar (Cabot Seriously Sharp is our usual), tomato, and homemade basil pesto. Never would have thought of it, but it's really good.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:37 PM on September 10, 2010

What I have learned from our local grilled cheese truck is 'any meat and nearly any cheese'. They also do a surprising amount of jam, often with pork. It was also through them that I learned about the wonders of guac and really super grainy mustard.
posted by cobaltnine at 1:49 PM on September 10, 2010

Brie + fuit jam/jelly. Investigate for interesting fruit spreads. My current fave is brie with walnuts and fig spread.
posted by sarahnade at 2:10 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My standard is ham or roast chicken, sliced thin, and placed between a layer of cheese on each side. If your layer runs bread, cheese, meat, bread, then one side of your sandwich won't stick. So, bread, cheese, meat, cheese, bread. It makes all the difference. You can butter the outside or not, but buttering the outside tastes better.

The key, though, to any good sandwich is oregano. If your sandwich lacks oregano, it lacks the basic concept of enjoyment.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:13 PM on September 10, 2010

Spread your bread while the sandwich is warm and insert sour cream and onion potato chips for a tangy treat!
posted by davey_darling at 2:25 PM on September 10, 2010

You should be making welsh rarebit. It's all about adding flavouring to the cheese itself rather than just piling things onto a regular grilled cheese sandwich. My grandfather's secret recipe was the best, but he always swore he was going to take it to his grave, and then he did. The bastard. But the linked recipe is probably pretty close.
posted by hazyjane at 2:28 PM on September 10, 2010

I always put Cajun seasoning on my grilled cheese. I also like to salt and pepper the inside.

I also put cumin in just about everything. It's great on grilled cheese too.

Tiny sliced cornichon are also wonderful.

Also, as mentioned above: spicy mustard, avocado, bacon, tomato
posted by soplerfo at 2:33 PM on September 10, 2010

Try Mac & Cheese Pancakes
posted by Argyle at 3:00 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Based on this comment in my callout thread here's my addition:

Hell even Oranges and lemons, when paired with a hard cheese thin sliced (if you can't get to a real cheese shop, I'm thinking something in the realm of manchego in base flavor and firmness), maybe with a pinch of cayenne grilled with a tarragon butter would be nice - or go the other way and candy the oranges and lemons, use a goat cheese or cottage cheese and then serve it on thin slices of brioche. Seriously.

Seriously - search "Gourmet+Grilled+Cheese" in google or bing and you'll get every response shown so far.

...and if I have to make a video of this so its done right let me know.

I'll add this: memail me any cooking ingredient and I'll turn it into a grilled cheese variant.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:07 PM on September 10, 2010

Tuna-melt: canned tuna with finely chopped green onion (and dash of salt) covered by a layer of cheddar cheese and the top slice of butted bread.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:51 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

put a small spoon of salsa in and some uncooked washed spinach. we used a "sandwich maker" to make this in college and more recently I got myself a new sandwich maker and relived the dream. it was dreamy.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:18 PM on September 10, 2010

G'ah, forgot to mention. I got this from the electrical board, and it's painfully simple yet uncanny in its ability to satisfy. Make a normal grilled cheese the best possible way (softened butter before applying to bread, covered pan, etc.), but add a paper thin slice of onion and plenty of freshly cracked assertive black pepper to the mix. So effing good.
posted by ifjuly at 5:37 PM on September 10, 2010

The Sporkful podcast did a show on grilled cheeses a few months ago.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:48 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I make my grilled cheese with grated sharp cheddar (for easier meltings), a thin spread of butter on each side of the outside of the sandwich, and a good spicy mustard on just one side of the inside of the sandwich. My personal favorite is Jack Daniels's Old Number 7 mustard (I find it at my local Kroger-owned grocery store, so it should be pretty easy to find).

I've made this iteration of sandwich for multiple people and they have all freaked out over its awesomeness. Pair it with tomato soup and a icy cold beer and I will personally come over and high-five you.
posted by palomar at 6:54 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My favorite cafe does a rotating daily grilled cheese. The best of the lot: thick sliced white bread, grilled in butter, spread lightly with whole-grain mustard. Tillamook cheddar, and thinly sliced, lightly dilled pickles. Ok, now I'm salivating.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:50 PM on September 10, 2010

I've never had sans bacon. Is it better than the regular kind?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:22 PM on September 10, 2010

By request - Coffee Grounds: (Modified to coffee - as noone eats coffee grounds)

Leipäjuusto is a traditional Finnish cheese that's routinely served in a similar fashion to brie, but the Finnish also soak it in their coffee. I'd go two ways with this: 1. pre-melting the cheese in a coffee bath (as it is a *very* firm cheese, and then making more of a flatbread grilled cheese with it. 2. going with more a biscotti flavor - but use a lady finger quick soaked in a cup of coffee and rolled in cocoa (you'd be looking for an almost tiramisu flavored dessert sandwich).

By request - Ice Cream: (once again, modified as this will have to be either a fried ice cream, or an ice cream sandwich with cheese poured over the top)

Given the artisan standings of both cheese and ice cream, you've got a lot of specific cheeses you could go for on both of these fronts. 1. Lets go with a simple brie, two slices horizontal to the round, and then a thin disc of ice cream between the cheese. Around this a dough for frying, then copious amounts of butter for pan frying the snot out of this. 2. for the cheese sauce variety it winds up being a complimentary approach - with a sweet ice cream you go for a strong flavored full bodied cheese that melts (port salut comes to mind) - if the ice cream is more delicate (lavender, cream), pair with a morbier. Either way, you melt the cheese, pour over the ice cream and immediately sandwich between some grilled slices of shortcake.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:25 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Grilled Cheese Academy. I am not even kidding - I'm working my way through the list.
posted by mewithoutyou at 9:21 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Coleslaw, of the buttermilk/mayo variety. Gives a unique crunch & kick, highly variable based on how you make the slaw of course.. Similar in use to pickles. Contrasts well with a smooth cheese, like a crummy american slice.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:35 PM on September 10, 2010

Here's the menu from PDX's Grilled Cheese Grill. I also saw crab/shrimp melts at several places in the PNW.
posted by brujita at 10:24 PM on September 10, 2010

You need to address the choice of bread and cheese in addition to what to add to that combo. Of course, the answer is rye bread with swiss cheese. Add the bacon, onion, and potato chips. The crunch is awesome. It goes without saying that the bread is buttered on both sides before grilling. To me the real key is to cook on a reasonably low heat for longer time so that the bread does not burn and the cheese does melt. Did I mention the potato chips?

(In a time pinch and clean up pinch I have toasted my bread first then put the whole shebang in the microwave for 42 seconds.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:16 PM on September 10, 2010

There is only one other thing you need for the perfect grilled cheese: Vegemite.
posted by cholly at 9:34 AM on September 11, 2010

There is a whole book devoted to this. Granted, most of the suggestions use ingredients other than white bread and American cheese, which may not be what you're looking for (Brie and apricot jam on a baguette; spinach and goat cheese on a croissant; blue cheese and fresh figs on crusty Italian bread)
posted by timepiece at 12:38 PM on September 11, 2010

Kimchee. Oh HELL yes.
posted by AngerBoy at 8:40 PM on September 11, 2010

I highly suggest looking at the menu of one of my favorite local restaurants...

(That said: onion jam, walnuts, asiago cheese...oh yum)
posted by at 8:04 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is only one other thing you need for the perfect grilled cheese: Vegemite Spring Onions
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:32 AM on September 13, 2010

I like Cajun seasoning on my grilled cheese with a bit of pepper. And for easy digestions top-it-up with a bottle of lager beer (:-
posted by helpfulmove at 3:40 AM on September 13, 2010

Y'know, I haven't actually test driven this myself but I bet one of Sylvia's spicier seasonings would pair reeeal well with melted cheese here...
posted by ifjuly at 6:52 AM on September 13, 2010

Getting hungry reading thru all the comments!

Bacon is a given. Perferably Applewood smoked bacon.

I also luv a 3-cheese sammy -- usually whatever is in the fridge!
posted by Kerry-in-Atlanta at 9:30 AM on September 13, 2010

We have made this version from The Pioneer Woman and have had great success.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:00 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

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