Gourmet grilled cheese—the kind you can find on restaurant menus is something you can easily make at home with a small addition: balsamic fig jam. If you’ve never before made grilled cheese with mayo this is another marvelous tip to transform this classic sandwich into something extra special.
For this grilled cheese, we used sharp cheddar from our friends at Rumiano Cheese. It’s tangy and pairs well with our mission figs. You could easily use a milder cheese too, like Monterey Jack or a spicier cheese like a Jalapeno Cheddar—just make sure it’s a semi-soft cheese you can slice so that you get maximum melting and those irresistible cheese pulls!
Balsamic Fig Jam
We love a good grilled cheese, but one thing that’s true is how rich this sandwich is and this is where balsamic fig jam comes in. The jam couldn’t be easier to make and it combines roasted red bell pepper, balsamic vinegar, and either our Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Dried Figs with a touch of honey for a jam that would also pair well with salty pork dishes, chicken or even spooned onto Mujadara. But wait until you taste it in a grilled cheese—it’s the kind of flavor combo you will crave!
The Secret to Golden Toasty Bread
Most of the time when people make grilled cheese they spread the outsides with butter and we are not averse to that, but wait until you try using grilled cheese with mayo. The consistency is easier to spread so you don’t necessarily have to use as much and you don’t have to bring your butter to soft / room temperature which can involve some planning or in advance prepping. Instead, you’ll get golden toasty outsides with melty insides. Are you turning on your griddle yet? Let’s cook!
Balsamic Fig Jam Grilled Cheese with Mayo
Balsamic Fig Jam (Makes 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 cup Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Dried Figs
- 1 roasted red bell pepper peeled, seeded, cored + quartered
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 10 ounces Rumiano sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 16 slices bread
Make Balsamic Fig Jam
- Heat balsamic vinegar and honey. Pour over figs and infuse for 5 minutes.
- Place figs and liquid with red bell pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste, processing again with salt and black pepper (or chile flakes if you prefer a spicy jam). Set aside.
Make Grilled Cheese
- Spread a thin coat of mayonnaise evenly on one side of a bread slice. Place it on a plate, mayonnaise side up. Repeat with the other bread slice, placing mayonnaise side down.
- On bread slice facing you, spread on 1/4 cup balsamic fig jam. Tile cheese slices on top.
- Preheat a skillet on medium for 1 minute. Pickup bread stack, removing the slice from the bottom, bringing it to the top to cover the cheese, mayonnaised sides facing out.
- Place sandwich in skillet for 1 1/2 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula and turn down heat to medium low, cooking other side until golden, about 2 minutes. Slice and serve.