The first time I tasted fig jam, I was living in Rome for a study abroad program in college. It was in a little bowl, on a giant charcuterie board.
I wasn’t sure about it at first, because including something so sweet on a charcuterie board seemed totally weird to me.
(Note that I was about 20 years old at the time, so my culinary education had barely started at that point.)
With the encouragement of my Italian roommate, I dove into a slice of bread with the jam and a slice of prosciutto. The explosion of salty and sweet was a game changer for me.
I had never encountered the combination before, and it really sang to me that day. As I experimented more with the fig jam, I found that it went with so many other flavors as well, like goat cheese and salumi.
A whole new world was opened up to me. And ever since then, fig jam is one of my favorite ingredients to use when I’m looking for something complex and a little sweet to pair with other items that are more on the savory side.
Fig jam has been a staple in my pantry ever since that day. I love to keep it on hand for charcuterie boards, but it also serves a ton of other purposes in various recipes.
Case in point: this gorgeous and flavorful fig and Gruyere grilled cheese.
The combination of fig jam with Gruyere and goat cheeses is pretty stellar. And by “pretty stellar,” I mean it’s absolutely divine, and you would be crazy to wait another minute to try this sandwich.
The sumptuous and sweet fig jam really adds a warming element to the sandwich that will open your mind to forever alter everything you thought you knew about grilled cheese.
When you combine something sweet with tangy goat and salty Gruyere cheeses, there’s a whole other element that your taste buds experience in every single bite.
And don’t forget about texture. It’s easy to get distracted by the many layers of flavor in this sandwich, but there’s also a variety of textures that go beyond the simple crunchy versus soft pairing that you’re probably used to.
The smooth and creamy goat cheese literally melts in your mouth. The gooey Gruyere is slightly chewy, and gets all runny in the best way. Then you have the golden toasted slices of sourdough bread, and the warm oozing fig jam washes across your tongue in a wave of flavor.
The truth is, you deserve a fancy grilled cheese in your life. I know that everyone loves the traditional grilled sandwich and tomato soup combination, but there are so many more ways to enjoy the whole gooey dairy and sliced bread combination.
Experimenting with new spins on traditional recipes is all the rage lately, so jump on the bandwagon already!
A fancy sandwich like this one is a treat for the senses, and really brightens up an average lunch hour any day of the week. It’s the little indulgences in life that make the days more interesting, so go ahead and treat yourself.Print
Forget cheddar or American – the best fig and Gruyere grilled cheese is going to blow your mind. The sweet, savory flavor combo is a whole new way to lunch.
- Heat skillet on medium-low.
- Butter one side each of both slices of bread, then spread the opposite side of one slice with fig jam, and the other slice with goat cheese.
- Place jam-covered slice of bread butter-side down on the heated skillet. Top with slices of Gruyere, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the other slice of bread on top, goat cheese side down.
- Cook until the browned on the bottom, approximately 4 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwich and continue to cook until the opposite side is browned and the cheese is melted, about 4 more minutes.
- Slice in half and serve immediately.
Keywords: grilled cheese, fig, fig jam, gruyere
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Slice Cheese and Measure Ingredients
Slice the Gruyere, and set aside. Slicing it thinly will help it to melt faster. If you want, you could even get out your box grater, and use the largest holes to shred it instead.
Measure the remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
When fresh figs are available, I like to make my own jam at home. It’s easier than you might think! But this delicious spread is also available in most grocery stores. If you can’t find it with the other jams and jellies, try the gourmet cheese section.
Fresh figs would also make a lovely addition to this sandwich. Remove the stems, and slice them thin. If you go this route, they can be added in step 3, after the Gruyere.
Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat.
Step 2 – Prepare Bread
Spread one side of each of the two slices of bread with butter.
Spread the opposite side of one slice with the fig jam, and spread the other with goat cheese.
Step 3 – Assemble and Grill
Place the slice of bread that is spread with fig jam in the pan, butter side down.
Top with slices of Gruyere. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
Place the other piece of bread with the goat cheese side down on top of the sandwich.
Cook until the bottom is browned, approximately 4 minutes. Flip the sandwich carefully and continue to cook until the opposite side is browned and the cheese is melted.
What Are the Best Cheeses to Use for a Grilled Sandwich?
When it comes to making the best ooey-gooey grilled sandwiches, it’s all about using the right dairy element to make it truly stand out.
The key is to focus on melting cheeses like Gruyere, cheddar, and swiss. These are fantastic in flavor, and they melt really easily, so they make a great base.
There’s also something to be said for the classic American – it’s a favorite that has stood the test of time for a reason. After all, it’s perfect for melting!
Then you can go wild with the flavorful additions. You can add goat cheese, Asiago, or Parmesan for an extra tangy or savory, umami element. Add sweet ingredients like fig jam, fresh fruit, or sliced tomato. Fresh herbs like basil and dill add grassy, fresh notes. And adding crisp bacon or ham will bump up the savory flavor.
There’s no end to the possibilities when you’re aiming to improve upon the humble grilled cheese. When you’re ready for the next adventure, don’t forget to check out our recipes for Peach and Basil Grilled Cheese, and Grilled Cheese with Homemade Tomato Jam. And once in awhile, it’s okay to serve up a few slices of the gooey orange stuff on white bread – we won’t tell anyone.
What’s the fanciest grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever eaten? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on April 6, 2010. Last updated: September 26, 2018 at 15:35 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.