Spice it up: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Nicole Fewell of Cheezy Bizness gives us four ways to reinvent the ultimate comfort food: grilled cheese sandwiches

I chose grilled cheese as the main dish on my food truck, Cheezy Bizness, because the possibilities are truly endless. Bread is a blank canvas, and what you decide to put in-between is an art form once you know what you’re doing! Choose your bread and cheese, and then enhance those flavours with spreads, meats, vegetables, dressings and sauces.

When it comes to grilled cheese I am a purist. It has to be grilled on a flat top or in a pan with butter. Always low and slow, have patience with your grilled cheese. You can speed things up by grating your cheese, but please don’t squish the air out of the perfect bread you’ve chosen or try to cut calories with mayo or margarine. It’s your treat day, so enjoy it! Let your palate be your guide, it’s never wrong. Here are a few ideas to spice up your grilled cheese sandwiches this winter.

Pro tip: Soften your butter before spreading it on bread slices. You’ll use much less of it and get a toastier sandwich.

1. For the Vegetarians 

Gull Valley Greenhouse has the best tasting roma tomatoes, in our opinion. Their basil is outstanding too.

  • Make the basil into a vinaigrette and add Alberta Cheese’s fresh buffalo mozzarella for a lighter caprese style sandwich.
  • Or try the same combo with grated, aged cheddar for some richer flavours. The salt in the vinaigrette pulls all the ingredients together and makes the tomatoes sing.
  • Winter is upon us and we love to have the oven on at this time of year, so roasting some root vegetables is another option. I like carrots, onions, parsnips and yams with some roasted garlic, thyme and a sprinkle of red wine vinegar. Pair this with some earthy, creamy cheese like brie.  
  • Add another layer of flavour with some sourdough bread. Just know that sourdough is quite dense and will take longer to cook, so remember to keep the temperature low, or slice the bread it a bit thinner.

2. For the Meat Lovers 

You can’t go wrong with a classic ham and cheese. Smoked, sweet ham with a soft gooey cheese like gouda, or paired with something stronger like Silvan Star Farms Grizzly Gouda, is magic in your mouth.

At Cheezy Bizness, we love to slow cook or braise our meats for a rich flavourful punch.

  • Pulled pork using Spragg’s pork shoulder, paired with smoked cheddar and pineapple is one of our most popular sandwiches on the truck.
  • Slow roasted Silver Sage roast beef with cheddar, gruyere, onions and horseradish mustard aioli is another. 
  • Braised lamb shoulder with caramelized onions, olive tapenade, St. Agur and brie is a rich and satisfying combination as well.
  • Take it to the next level with the fig and fennel bread from Yum Bakery at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

3. Sweet and Salty 

Gooey cheese, with a little salt and some sweet, is my favourite flavour profile. Pair bacon jam (my go-to salty, sweet ingredient) with a pink lady apple, grated gouda and you’ve got perfection.

4. Spread it on!

A simple way to amp things up is by using spreads and tapenades:

  • Olive and fig tapenade with goat ricotta, cheddar, and gruyere is a delicious combo.
  • Pimento cheese with dill pickles, onions, emmental, and aged white cheddar is what we call the Big Cheese on our menu.
  • For the sweet tooth, spread on Nutella and pair with some cherry compote, cream cheese and grated emmental to add a sharp note to the sweet melody.
  • A late addition to our menu this year was the Peachy Pig. Earl Grey peach jam with Valbella maple pepper ham, some lightly pickled peaches, and gouda make a sweet and savoury sandwich.

​RECIPE: The Best Bacon Jam

RECIPE: Fig and Olive Tapenade

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