No matter how we eat now, we all have those foods. Those foods that the moment we bite into them, we’re instantly transported back to our childhood or a wonderful moment in our past, a food memory. Some of them just trigger a feeling, and others zap us back to a specific moment in time.
We eat these foods, from time to time, to try and take our ship back there and reconnect with something from the past. But things can change. Tastes can evolve, diets and food ideals shift, and the exact food you once ate with abandon loses its luster.
Grilled cheese is something from my childhood that has gone through this change. For me, grilled cheese reminds me of weekends, my dad cooking lunch, and this one flat cast-iron pan we had. The grilled cheese we made was pretty standard– it was white bread with the iconic prewrapped slice of cheese. And to smaller me, it was just heaven.
Years ago I stopped eating white bread and prewrapped slices of cheese, but I still love to revisit the memories of my dad making us lunch and the taste of melted cheese on warm, toasty bread. I’ve made some more healthful tweaks to my grilled cheese of the past to bring it more in line with things I eat now.
The first swap was the bread. I don’t eat a lot of sandwich bread anymore, but when I have a hankering for some grilled cheese or avocado toast, I’ll get sprouted grain bread. Sprouted grain bread is by soaking whole grains and seeds in water until they grow a sprout. Then the grains are ground down and made into bread. Sprouting grains is helpful for your digestion, absorption of nutrients and allows you to get the most nutritionally from the grain. In order to make most flours, nutritious parts of the whole grain are removed.
I upgraded the dairy for my grilled cheese sandwich quite a bit. From processed cheese and regular butter, we jump to grass-fed Kerrygold cheese and butter. Grass-fed dairy have a better taste and quality than conventionally produced dairy. It also makes the dairy higher in healthy fats and vitamins. High quality fat like this is also good for keeping your body functioning well. For this sandwich I chose Skellig, Kerrygold’s sweet cheddar.
To bring this grilled cheese fully into my world, I added some plant-based goodness. I finely chopped up some sauteed spinach and a light olive tapenade (the same one from the Fall Fruit and Cheese Plate) and mixed it with the cheese.
The slight sweetness of the Skellig mixed with the brightness of the spinach and the saltiness of the olive tapenade makes for a perfect party of flavors. It brings in the comforts of the grilled cheeses of my past with the food of my present, forging a new food memory for one my those foods.
This post was sponsored by Kerrygold. I was compensated with free product. All thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.
- 2 slices of sprouted bread
- Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
- 1/4-1/2 block of Kerrygold Skellig, grated (adjust this for your preferred cheesiness)
- 1/4 cup sauteed spinach, seasoned with salt and paprika, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Light Olive Tapenade
Throughly mix grated cheese, spinach, and tapenade together in a small bowl.
Rub a layer of butter on the bottom of a large frying pan and warm to medium low heat. Rub a light layer of butter on one side of each piece of bread.
Once the butter in the pan starts bubbling, add one piece of bread to the pan, butter side down. Once the butter at the edge of the bread starts to bubble (about a minute or two), carefully spoon the cheese mixture onto the bread.
Place the second piece of bread on top, buttered side up. Press the sandwich down with a spatula and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwich, press down with spatula, and let cook for 2-3 minutes. You can move the bread around in the pan to prevent any burning.
Once the bread is golden brown on each side and the cheese is melted (the top piece of bread will not lift off of the sandwich), remove from heat and serve.
Raymond Bradley says
Spinach and olives are an underrated food stuff full of goodness and toasted in a sandwich with cheese would be an amazing combination i am a lover of eating olives and will make this recipe as i love sandwiches.