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.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers & Ibérico Ham
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!
8 slices Triple Cheese Bread
8 slices Tillamook Colby Jack Cheese
2 fire roasted red bell peppers, halved (jarred is fine)
4 to 8 slices Ibérico Ham
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.