We have an ongoing debate in our house about grilled cheese. That’s normal right? Other families debate totally asinine things like this? Reassure me, please.
Anywho, I am a purist. I believe that for a grilled cheese to truly be considered a grilled cheese, it has to be in its simplest form. Bread. Cheese. Butter. Done.
My husband, on the other hand, thinks that any sandwich that happens to have melty cheese on it is considered a “grilled cheese.” No matter how much doctoring you do to it, it’s still a grilled cheese. I argue that it’s a slippery slope when you start calling any old sandwich with melted cheese a “grilled cheese.” I mean, what’s to stop people from calling a cheeseburger a “grilled cheese with beef.” Chaos. CHAOS, I SAY. Words mean something, people!
(For what it’s worth, I also consider chili—like my beloved Taco Turkey Chili—a soup. My husband thinks I’m crazy—he says it’s its own “thing.”)
I have been a simple grilled cheese evangelical for a few years now, and honestly, I’ll spew my rhetoric to anyone who will listen (which, really, isn’t many). I can be quite stubborn, actually.
And then I started working on this little recipe here, and something changed. I got a few loaves of the amazing White Bread Done Right from my friends at Dave’s Killer Bread (more on them in a sec), and the first thing I wanted to make with it was grilled cheese—so I did. A “me” grilled cheese. Bread. Cheese. Butter. And it was Awe. Some.
White Bread Done Right is like everything I’ve ever wanted in a bread. It’s fluffy, light, and airy like white bread, but all the whole grains and nutrition of one of the whole grain cardboard-like breads from the grocery store. It’s perfect for grilled cheese (and French toast, too). This is whole grain bread that even whole grain bread haters will love.
This bread is so good that it actually made me want to doctor up my classic grilled cheese. Like I owed it to this bread to bring my A-game.
Man, I’m really showing you guys just how strange I am today, aren’t I?
So I started thinking about what bugged me about fancy/doctored/not-pure grilled cheeses, and I realized it was all about the focus of the sandwich. I believe the focus of a grilled cheese should be, you guessed it, the gooey, melty cheese (and good bread, of course). If that’s still the focus of your sandwich, even if you doctor it up, then I think I can get on board with calling your sandwich a “grilled cheese.” And so that’s why I’m calling this totally doctored up, totally fancy, totally not pure sandwich a grilled cheese. Because even though it’s full of jalapeños and bacon, it’s still all about the cheese.
Did you see me just rationalize away my principles? Boom.
Now I’ve taken you on the enchanted voyage through my thought process, let’s talk about this sandwich. Take the best jalapeño popper you’ve ever had and combine it with the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever had, and you get this jalapeño popper grilled cheese. It’s super gooey, it’s a tiny bit spicy, it’s salty from the bacon, it’s crispy from a secret ingredient, and the whole thing is cooked in bacon grease. It’s, truthfully, incredible.
I know you’re probably thinking it is also spicy as all get out—after all, I call for a whole jalapeño for each grilled cheese sandwich. But actually, it’s pretty tame. To mellow the spice in jalapeños, the recipe has you roast them in a hot oven first. The heat brings out the sweetness of the peppers and milds the spice. If you like it a bit spicier, just keep the seeds and membranes intact in your jalapeños, or even skip the roasting step completely if you really like the heat.
This jalapeño popper grilled cheese is the first of a whole bunch of recipes I’ll be teaming up with Dave’s Killer Bread to bring you over the rest of the year. I am so excited to bring them on board to the Wholefully family! They are an incredible company with an awesome mission, and they make some seriously amazing products.
All of their bread is organic, non-GMO, packed with whole grains, and tasty as all get out. And their company is committed to Second Chance Employment—one-third of their employees have a criminal background. You can learn more about their Second Chance Employment program in this video.
I am just so proud to be partnering with Dave’s Killer Bread this year. If you want to track down your own loaf of White Bread Done Right (or any of their varieties), you can check out their store locator to find a retailer near you. Enjoy!