If you like grilled cheese, you are going to LOVE this grown up grilled cheese with 3 different cheeses, pumpernickel bread, and the most delicious fig and pepper relish!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!
The story behind this Grown Up Grilled Cheese
Jeff and I are absolutely in love with this Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Fig and Pepper Relish and I can’t thank that little voice in my head enough for guiding me around the grocery store and making this recipe come to life!
The other night as I was getting ready to leave work, I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. I told him, keep it simple because I’m really tired and want something quick and easy. Being the terrific husband he is, he suggested Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. Perfect! I’ll just grab a can of good ole Campbell’s, bread, cheese and butter and dinner is just as good as done!
Then that little voice in my head gets to talking to me and it says, “Come on now… you can do better than that.” No… No… not tonight, I’m keeping it simple! And I did… keep it simple, who says simple can’t sound fancy and taste gourmet???
My little voice led me around the grocery store and pointed me in the direction of Pumpernickel bread… hmmm, can’t say I ever had a grilled cheese on Pumpernickel before… but I love Pumpernickel! Bread choice made.
Smoked Gouda would go well with the Pumpernickel and I have some in the fridge. My little voice said that’s a good start, but you need a good melting cheese and maybe a third type that will round out the flavors. Okay, I agree. I chose a Swedish Fontina and sliced Provolone. I think I’m done and head to the checkout… but my little voice puts the brakes on and says, you can do better, add a spread of some sort.
Really??? I’m tired, this will be good enough. Too late, my brain is working out possibilities for a spread and I think of the fig risotto I made the other night. A fig and pepper relish would really finish this grilled cheese perfectly! So, I grab a few more ingredients and head towards the soup aisle.
Then I realize that I can’t serve canned tomato soup with this masterpiece of a grilled cheese, so I quickly plan out an Easy Tomato Soup recipe. Grabbing the few things I need for tomato soup, I check out and head home, hoping that these ideas of mine and my little voice work out as well as I envision!
Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Fig and Pepper Relish with Easy Tomato Soup is even better than I thought… just ask Jeff! He said, “This is the best thing you’ve ever made.” Not sure that means that much since he says that almost every time I make a new recipe… but this soup is delicious!
The earthy taste of the Pumpernickel combined with the hint of smokiness in the Gouda paired with the nuttiness of the Fontina and the ooey gooey goodness of the Provolone makes for one great grilled cheese… add the sweet and spicy flavors of the Fig and Pepper Relish and this sandwich is absolute perfection! Serve it with Easy Tomato Soup and you have a perfect grown up version of this classic yin and yang of comfort foods.
How to Cook the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Here are a few tips for cooking the best grilled cheese:
- Have your butter at room temperature: If the butter is too cold, it won’t spread easily and can tear the bread or be concentrated in one area resulting in inconsistent grilling.
- Don’t use too much butter: about one tsp per slice of bread will usually do the trick. More is not better when making a grilled cheese; too much butter can result in a soggy grilled cheese.
- Cook the grilled cheese over medium heat. If you pan is too hot, not only will the butter burn, you will also crisp the bread before melting the cheese.
- A well cooked grilled cheese should take at least 20 minutes to make. Especially when using multiple types of cheeses.
What you’ll need for Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Fig and Pepper Relish*
- Dried Mission Figs
- Red Chili Pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Pumpernickel Bread
- Smoked Gouda
- Fontina Cheese
- Provolone Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Salt (kosher or sea)
* Ingredients featured in picture are for both Grilled Cheese And Easy Tomato Soup
Remove stems from 10 figs and place in saucepan.
Fill saucepan with just enough water to cover the figs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Slice pepper and add to pot of figs and water. Bring to a boil. I kept the seeds, but you can remove them if you want a milder relish. Personally, I think the heat is just right and balances the sweetness of the figs.
Allow figs and peppers to continue at a constant simmer until liquid has reduced to 1/4 of original volume. This takes just a few minutes. Add in balsamic vinegar, salt and remove from heat. Add heavy cream and pulse until chunky texture is achieved.
Assemble the sandwich. Slice the smoked Gouda and Fontina into thin slices. Spread 1/4 of the fig & pepper relish onto one side of the pumpernickel bread. Place Provolone cheese slice on top of relish. layer each sandwich with 1/4 of the Fontina and smoked Gouda cheeses. Top with Provolone slice and another slice of bread.
Heat the saute pan on medium low, butter both sides of the bread and place butter side down onto the hot saute pan. Grill on medium low for about 3-5 minutes, then flip. Continue to cook, flipping occasionally until bread is toasted and cheese has melted. Repeat for each sandwich. Serve with Easy Tomato Soup and Enjoy!
Don’t have time to make it now? Pin it for later ⇓⇓⇓
Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Fig and Pepper Relish
- 10 Dried Mission Figs
- 1 Red Chili Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
- 2 Teaspoons Kosher or Sea salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 8 Slices Dark Pumpernickel Bread
- 8 Slices Provolone Cheese
- 6 ounces Smoked Gouda
- 6 Ounces Fontina Cheese
- 4 Tablespoons Salted Butter softened
- Remove the stems from the figs and place figs in small/ medium saucepan. Add just enough water to cover figs and place on medium high heat. Bring to Boil, reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Slice red Chili pepper and add to figs, bring to a boil. If you want a milder version, remove the pepper seeds.
- Continue to boil until water is reduced to1/4 of original amount about 5 minutes or so.
- Add Balsamic Vinegar and remove from heat.
- Place fig and pepper mixture along with remaining liquid into the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Add salt, pepper and heavy cream. Pulse a few times until mixture has a chunky but spreadable texture.
- Reserve Fig and Pepper Relish for later.
- Slice the smoked Gouda and Fontina cheeses into thin slices.
- Spread 1/4 of the Fig and Pepper Relish onto a piece of Pumpernickel.
- Layer with provolone, 1/4 Fontina and smoked Gouda cheeses and Provolone. Top with Pumpernickel slice. Repeat for each sandwich
- Heat saute pan on medium low. Butter outside of Pumpernickel bread and place sandwich in hot pan.
- Allow to cook on one side until it begins to brown and the cheese starts to melt, about 3-5 minutes. Flip sandwich every couple of minutes until browned on both sides of bread and cheese is melted.
- Allow to rest for about 3 minutes before cutting.
- Serve with Easy Tomato Soup and voila...the yin and yang of comfort food!
Be sure to follow us on your favorite social channels, you can find us right here ⇓⇓⇓