Grown up grilled cheese. It’s a thing. What makes it grown up? The kind of cheese and the stuffing. In this case, it’s smoked gouda cheese, fresh nectarines, and a handful of spicy arugula.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful campground wedding of two lovely friends. It was a smaller, more intimate affair filled with grown up mac n’ cheese, custom cocktails, lawn games, and campfires. While in line for dinner, I got into a conversation about the macaroni and cheese generation: those of us (myself included) that grew up with that classic blue box of noodles and powdered dairy products for dinner. Those of us that made microwave portions for an after school snack. Those of us that took those microwave packs with us to college for late night study sessions.
Upon reflection, I realized there was another cheese based food that had grown up along with me: grilled cheese. As evidenced by a local restaurant featuring macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, wine, beer, and all things cheese related, there’s a significant population that finds comfort in nostalgic food and harbors a desire to incorporate more sophisticated flavors.
So you get grown up mac n’ cheese and grown up grilled cheese. Today, I’m focusing on the latter because grilled cheese is fast and easy to make when you’re hungry.
With all ingredients on hand, this nectarine grilled cheese is ready is the time it takes to toast the bread and melt the cheese. So about 10 to 15 minutes.
As a huge fan of sweet and savory combinations (like this eggplant salad with melon), I love the sweetness of the ripe nectarine contrasting with the spicy arugula and smoky salty melted gouda. I’ve made this grilled cheese with sandwich bread and fresh sliced bread. Both are great, it just depends on what you have on hand. The olive bread pictured in this grilled cheese adds a pop of sour saltiness to the sandwich. Check out the recipe notes for some other bread ideas.
Nectarine Grilled Cheese with Smoked Gouda
This grown up grilled cheese is stuffed with summer stone fruit, smoked gouda and spicy arugula. A great weekend lunch or dinner!
- 8 pieces sliced bread
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 6 ounces smoked gouda, sliced
- 2 nectarines, sliced
- 1 handful arugula
Heat pan over medium low heat.
Brush each piece of bread with olive oil on one side.
Lay two slices of bread olive oil side down into pan. Lay a few slices of smoked gouda cheese on each slice of bread.
Let cheese melt slightly, then layer nectarines on one slice of bread. Top with a few leaves of arugula.
Flip the other slice of bread over on top of the nectarines and arugula to create a sandwich.
Continue to let the cheese melt. Flip sandwich and let the bread crisp on each side.
I used olive bread for this sandwich, but sourdough, french, or rye bread would be great alternatives as well. I like to make grilled cheese in a pan, but a panini press or grill would be another option.
Be sure to use ripe nectarines for this grilled cheese! The sweet juiciness really makes the sandwich!
Use your favorite dairy free melting cheese or skip the cheese and make this sandwich in a panini press.
Try this sandwich with your favorite gluten free bread.
Looking to add a little meat or protein? Leftover shredded chicken breast makes a great grilled cheese filling, or tuck some cured meat such as prosciutto or coppa.
CHECK THE FRIDGE
Don't have smoked gouda? Fontina and taleggio are great substitutions. They're both great melting cheeses and have a strong flavor. Peaches or apricots are also great in the sandwich if you don't have a ripe nectarine.