An Awesome Grilled Cheese Recipe for Fall.
Here it is! Grilled cheese recipe number two in my Gourmet Grilled Cheese Series that is running from September – October this year. This apple, cheddar, bacon & arugula grilled cheese is another favorite, and it’s here just in time for that cooler weather.
What makes this grilled cheese so good? All of these beautiful ingredients love to work with one another! Pork (bacon), apples, and cheddar are an incredible combination. The arugula offers a pepper-y, bright layer that just pops and really brings everything together. It’s SO good!
Ingredients for this Gourmet Grilled Cheese:
- Sourdough bread (I am in KC, and I use Farm to Market. If you have a local baker that makes sourdough, I highly recommend using it! You can also use Italian or French bread. Or white bread will work, too!)
- Unsalted Butter
- Grated (or shredded) Soft Cheddar
- Fuji or Red Delicious Apple
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper
- Bacon (turkey bacon works, or vegan bacon!)
How Do I make the Best Grilled Cheese?
- Use good bread. As I mentioned above, I use a local bakery’s sourdough bread for my grilled cheese sandwiches. I like the flavor that sourdough brings to a grilled cheese! However, using any fresh, locally baked, sliced white bread will totally work!
- Unsalted butter is your friend. We toss a pinch of flaky sea salt in with the arugula for this grilled cheese, so extra salt in the butter could be too much for some people. I almost always recommend using an unsalted butter so you can adjust your salt level as you go!
- Use a soft cheddar cheese. It can be very tempting to use a fancy, hard cheddar cheese for a gourmet grilled cheese. However, those harder cheeses don’t melt as well. What do I mean by hard cheese? If you press your finger into the cheese and it doesn’t leave an indentation, it’s a hard cheese. You want a soft, squishy cheddar cheese here. It will melt better, and totally melt into the other ingredients to help hold everything together!
- Toss the arugula in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Yes, this may seem like an extra step – but it’s the easiest step that makes a huge difference! The olive oil helps the arugula blend into the melty cheese, and the salt and pepper are that extra pop of flavor you never knew you needed!
- Use a Fuji or Red Delicious apple. This is my recommendation. They are sweeter and a little “juicier” than their green apple cousins, so I think they’re perfect in this grilled cheese. The tartness of a green apple doesn’t always play well with other ingredients, so I tend to avoid them for this grilled cheese.
- Thinly slice the apple. The thinner the apple slices, the softer they will become as they cook inside the grilled cheese. If you like a crunchy, thick apple slice – do that! But for this recipe, I use thinly sliced apple so it blends well with the other textures. But really, do whatever you prefer here. It’s your grilled cheese! Make a couple of them and try both ways!
- Cover the pan with a lid as the grilled cheese cooks. This is my go-to method to ensure that cheese is extra melty! The lid will trap the heat inside the pan, which further softens the apple slices and melts the cheese. This step isn’t entirely necessary, but it’s a good trick to keep in your back pocket if your cheese isn’t melting as much as you’d like.
What other Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipes can I try?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Even though this is only the second grilled cheese of my Fall 2020 series, I have a couple of others from previous years that are ALSO delicious!
- Turkey & Pesto Grilled Cheese (also from this series!)
- Havarti & Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
- Blistered Tomato & Mozzarella Grilled Cheese (the OG gourmet grilled cheese recipe!)
But keep checking back, as we still have SEVEN new grilled cheese recipes coming your way! Every Monday through October will have a new recipe out – and I will send a newsletter each Monday that will give you a quick and easy link to each one. You can sign up here if you haven’t already!
Also, if you make your own grilled cheeses – I would love to see your creations on Instagram! And as always, feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or need some troubleshooting.
Happy fall, and happy comfort food season!
Apple, Cheddar, Bacon & Arugula Grilled Cheese
- 1 cup Arugula
- 1 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp. Flaky Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 4 slices Sourdough Bread (1/2" thick)*
- 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 6 strips Crispy, Thick-Cut Bacon**
- 1 Medium Fuji Apple*** thinly sliced
- Toss arugula, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Divide the softened butter between the four slices of bread, spreading evenly onto one side of each slice.
- Once the skillet is hot, place one slice of bread (butter side down) into the skillet. Immediately sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar across the top side of the bread.
- Lay three slices of bacon across the cheddar.
- Top the bacon with half of the prepared arugula.
- Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar across the arugula. Place another slice of bread (butter side UP) onto the arugula. Gently press down on the sandwich with a spatula.
- Cook the grilled cheese 3-4 minutes until browned on the bottom. Carefully flip, and cook another 2-3 minutes until browned and cheese is melted.
- Repeat with remaining ingredients to make second sandwich. Slice both in half, and serve hot!