Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers & Ibérico Ham

I think I may have been the only child to never eat a single grilled cheese sandwich growing up.

It’s true. My mother never made them, and somehow, I lived a life sheltered from childhood “classics” such as grilled cheese, tomato soup, and macaroni and cheese. The closest incarnation I had to a grilled cheese sandwich was my mother’s homemade cheese pimento, oozing from warm toast.

When I finally had my first taste of grilled cheese, I was already in high school, working as a camp counselor one summer at a sleep away camp in New Jersey. There it was, piled high in the canteen, and there were no other choices for lunch. One bite and I was not impressed. I was relieved to know I wasn’t missing anything.

To be honest, it wasn’t until I met my husband that I made my first grilled cheese, but I vowed that when I did, I would only use the best ingredients. And the cheesy gates of heaven opened. I finally understood the virtues of a good grilled cheese – the buttery toasted bread, the perfect ratio of bread to cheese, even that critical diagonal slice – it all combines to make for one amazing sandwich.

I was recently asked to partner with Tillamook in their Grilled Cheese Recipepalooza, a month-long event dedicated to sharing Grilled Cheese recipes using Tillamook’s all-natural cheese. You may recall that I am a big fan of Tillamook, so I was happy to say Yes! I’ll make some grilled cheese sandwiches! I think I scored extra brownie points with my kids on this decision.

My Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers & Ibérico Ham is no ordinary grilled cheese. The roasted red peppers are nostalgic, of course, of my mom’s cheese pimento, and the salty Ibérico ham lends a layer of savory bite that you just can’t get with your typical ham. But what brings this up to the next level is the Triple Cheese Bread.

Baked with cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and of course, Tillamook cheddar cheese, this tender bread serves as the perfect foundation for one awesome grilled cheese sandwich.

I wish the 15 year old me could taste this now.

FTC: Tillamook sent packages of their sliced all-natural cheese to help me participate in the celebration of National Grilled Cheese month and their Grilled Cheese Recipepalooza. I was not compensated for or required to write about their product. All opinions are, as always, genuinely my own.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers & Ibérico Ham

Yield: Serves 4.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

The distinct, salty Ibérico ham pairs nicely with the mellow Colby Jack Tillamook cheese and the sweet roasted red peppers. But the sandwich is made even more special when you use Triple Cheese Bread, made with, yes, Tillamook Cheese. It will ooze from the inside out!

Ingredients:

8 slices Triple Cheese Bread
Melted butter
8 slices Tillamook Colby Jack Cheese
2 fire roasted red bell peppers, halved (jarred is fine)
4 to 8 slices Ibérico Ham

Directions:

Lightly brush both sides of all the bread slices with melted butter. Lay one slice of cheese on one slice of bread. Layer slices of roasted red bell peppers, along with a thin layer of ham. Top with one more slice of cheese, followed by the second slice of bread. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.

On a nonstick or cast iron pan over medium-low heat, cook the sandwiches until the bread is golden brown on both sides, and the cheese just melted. If the sandwich is thick, it may help to transfer the sandwiches onto an ovenproof plate and place into a 350 degree oven to help melt the cheese.

Slice the sandwich in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

If you can not find Ibérico Ham, try substituting Serrano ham or your favorite salty ham.

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by Liren Baker on April 10, 2012

20 Responses to “Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers & Ibérico Ham”

  1. Erika - The Teenage Taste — April 10, 2012 @ 8:18 am (#
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    Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! I want that bread!

    • liren replied: — April 12th, 2012 @ 12:09 am

      The bread recipe is coming soon, Erika!

  2. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — April 10, 2012 @ 8:26 am (#
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    In the last hour I was thinking about dinner and decided it’s a grilled cheese + tomato soup kind of day. I love roasted red peppers and I’m all about the diagonal slice too – now I’m counting down the minutes until dinner!

  3. Brian — April 10, 2012 @ 8:32 am (#
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    That loaf of bread is absolutely gorgeous… made better by ooey gooey cheese.

  4. Rikki — April 10, 2012 @ 9:38 am (#
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    Now that is a grilled cheese! This looks like the perfect lunch, it’s making me very hungry! I had the same experience with grilled cheese as you. [:

  5. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — April 10, 2012 @ 11:44 am (#
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    What an upscale version of a grilled cheese! Looks wonderful!

  6. J @ ... semplicemente ... j — April 10, 2012 @ 6:45 pm (#
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    Delicious! I have been in the mood for a sandwich like this!

  7. Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings — April 10, 2012 @ 8:07 pm (#
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    oh, boo…we don’t get Tillamook brand here :( but this is such a great excuse to experiment with cheese and Iberian ham, pata negra (bellota) is a fave! drooling…

  8. myfudo — April 10, 2012 @ 11:11 pm (#
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    I love your version…Drool worthy! Thanks for sharing =)

  9. Jennifer (Delicieux) — April 11, 2012 @ 1:30 am (#
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    Mmm I love your updated grilled cheese, especially the addition of roasted peppers. Yum! I haven’t had a grilled cheese sandwich in so long. Now you have me craving one :)

  10. Patty — April 11, 2012 @ 9:03 am (#
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    I think I’m going to make grilled cheese sandwiches this week;-)

  11. Holly — April 11, 2012 @ 10:15 am (#
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    I love this post. That you’ve praised something as simple as grilled cheese so highly makes me happy, and makes me want a grilled cheese. I love Iberico ham and patta negra. I don’t know this kind of cheese though – what does it taste like?

    • liren replied: — April 11th, 2012 @ 10:37 am

      I am a reformed believer in griilled cheese, Holly :) The Colby Jack is a mellow and creamy cheese, in some ways along the same profile to a Muenster. Not very sharp, and this one by Tillamook melts just nicely. I hope you get to try it!

  12. Jean — April 12, 2012 @ 10:35 am (#
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    By now we’ve established that our taste buds had a similar upbringing. :) I did have grilled cheese growing up but my love for them didn’t blossom until I was an adult. I didn’t taste the boxed mac and cheese until a friend made it for me in college! And you know my tomato soup story.

    If I had this sandwich as a teen, my love affair with grilled cheese sandwiches would have started a lot sooner, too. :)

  13. Priscilla - She's Cookin' — April 12, 2012 @ 4:11 pm (#
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    I know how fabulous Iberico ham with roasted peppers tastes. And on triple cheese bread with melted cheese…. ahhmazing! Dreaming up new grilled cheese creations was fun – plan on making more this weekend :)

  14. Suzanne — April 13, 2012 @ 11:27 am (#
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    Craving this sandwich now, but I need your bread won’t be the same without it and the red peppers look so good.

  15. kita — April 15, 2012 @ 12:44 pm (#
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    Only you could make grilled cheese look so smexy!

    I don’t recall ever have tomato soup or macaroni and cheese as a child either (which is probably why I never turn down a serving now), but grilled cheese was a basic staple that I had ignored for a few years into my adult hood because I associated it with tasteless cheese and soggy bread. Now that I know they don’t have to be that way, the skies the limit. I love the cheese bread you used and would love to try making it too!

  16. ( Liren's Daughter) — April 16, 2012 @ 4:25 pm (#
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    I like my mom’s post and I tried it when she made it. It tastes good to me except the pepers. But i’m only a kid so it will probally taste better for grown ups.

    By C.B

  17. Magic of Spice — April 17, 2012 @ 12:27 pm (#
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    That is one gorgeous grilled cheese!

  18. Platanos, Mangoes and Me! — April 25, 2012 @ 9:54 am (#
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    Really a great looking sandwich…love the cheese dripping..

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