Grilled cheese with cheddar, jalapeno, lime, garlic, and sage

November 1, 2010 at 11:43 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Alma's faves, Derek's faves, My brain, Necessarily nonvegan, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Yearly menu plan)

I don’t remember the last time I made a grilled cheese sandwich.  But we finally found cheddar that we like here in Saarbruecken, and I decided to celebrate by making grilled cheese.  I didn’t want to make just a regular old boring grilled cheese, though, so I pulled out various flavorful additions I had in the fridge:  jalapeno, sage, garlic, and lime.

I bought a mild rye “farmer’s bread” at the bakery, and rubbed one clove of garlic into two slices of bread, adding the remaining bits of crushed garlic to the sandwich.  I then buttered the non-garlic side of each slice of bread and sprinkled the butter with salt (since butter in Germany is unsalted).  I added a moderate amount of cheese, and cooked the sandwich in a covered non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, until both sides were browned and the cheese was melted.  Then I opened the sandwich up and sprinkled on a good amount of diced jalapeno and minced sage.  Yum.  Derek thought the sandwich needed more cheese to be a truly decadent grilled cheese, but I liked it just fine.  We also tried drizzling the grilled cheese with a little lime juice, which brought all the flavors together beautifully.

I made this again for lunch today using a bit more jalapeno and garlic and cheese, and Derek said he thinks it’s the best grilled cheese he ever had.  He said he’d be very happy to get it in a restaurant. He added that he though Anthony Bourdain would like it.  I’m not sure how I feel about that last comment, since I’m not a big fan of Bourdain.

My best estimates of amounts per sandwich:

  • 2 small pieces of rye bread
  • 1.5 – 2 tsp. of unsalted butter + two pinches of salt
  • 1.5 ounces of cheddar
  • 1.5 tsp. of minced jalapeno with seeds
  • 1.5 tsp. of minced sage
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • a few small squirts of lime juice

I think it might be better to add the jalapeno before cooking and the sage and lime afterwards.  Otherwise the sage gets a little too cooked?

Rating: B+
Derek: A

Update December 2011:

We made the grilled gruyere and red onion sandwiches with grainy mustard from Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  But we used less oil/butter than he calls for to cook the onions, and skipped the draining the onions step, since the onions didn’t seem to have that much extra fat on them.  I used 1.5 ounces of gruyere per sandwich, and Derek said it wasn’t enough.  He says we should use 2 ounces as Berley suggests.  I bought the more aged, more expensive gruyere, but next time I would just buy the cheaper one because once it’s melted I don’t think you can tell the difference.  We didn’t have grainy mustard, just normal dijon, but we liked the combination of red onions, cheese, and dijon.  But I thought it was missing something.  It needed an herb I think.  It certainly wasn’t as good as my combo above.  I made that again to compare and Derek said it was definitely better, even though I forgot the garlic.  But Derek wants me to up the cheese amount to 2 ounces.

Update 2021:

Nowadays when I make grilled cheese I usually make it with some kind of greens, often chard, but sometimes turnip greens or beet greens or spinach. Alma loves it. She’s only ever had my grilled cheese, and I think she thinks that to make grilled cheese you have to have greens on hand 🙂


  1. Jenn said,

    I love getting creative with grilled cheese, and I love your variations!

  2. austingardener said,

    An A from Derek and I can’t even try it!

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