Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam, Goat Brie, Applewood Smoked Ham & Arugula

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Grilled cheese with fig jam, goat brie, applewood smoked ham and arugula

What do you cook on a Tuesday night when you’re rushing in after a long day before rushing out again to take the kids to soccer, or piano, or ballet? Do you drive through a fast food restaurant? Do you pop something in the microwave oven? Do you call the local pizza joint and have them deliver a pizza? (Gluten-free, obviously.) Or do you have something simmering in the crock pot?  (Wow, aren’t you a planner!) No! May I suggest an epic, gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with fig jam, ham, and brie? Time is precious, especially on a hurried weeknight. We often find ourselves tired and cranky after a long day, with hungry kids to feed. Nobody wants to cook on nights like these, even those of us who do it for a living.

Grilled cheese with fig jam, goat brie, applewood smoked ham and arugula

But with a well stocked larder (that is such a great word, isn’t it?), dinner can be on the table in less than 10 minutes–a dinner that tastes way better than fast food, and a dinner that is actually faster than fast food too! My friends, you must embrace Grilled Cheese Night! Grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty freaking fantastic, even when they are simple affairs, white bread and good ‘ole American cheese. But they are out of this world when you use fancier cheese, and throw in some veggies and ham or bacon. Some people have earthquake kits in case of emergencies…I have good cheese. And also good wine.

Anatomy of an Excellent Gourmet Grilled Cheese (Like Fig Jam, Ham and Brie)

  1. You need good bread. Before Celiac Disease we served these up on the best artisan bread we could find, but now I’ll settle for the wholest-grain gluten-free bread I can get my hands on (that doesn’t taste like cardboard). And you know what? It still tastes amazingly good. That’s what good cheese can do! Those of us in the gluten free community have more options now thankfully. I’m a fan of Cook’s Sourdough, which we can purchase at Whole Foods in SoCal. I also love the bread you can mail order from Mariposa in the Bay Area.
  2. Next, I highly recommend adding some delicious charcuterie – smoked ham, prosciutto, salami, or even roast beef is an excellent choice.
  3. Don’t forget a wonderful melting cheese. Brie is amazing (so is brie made from goat milk), but cheddar is also a solid, and classic, choice.
  4. I recommend adding a fancy jam like fig jam or tomato jam.
  5. Finally, add something for crunch – like red onions, arugula (or both).

We absolutely love our panini press, but a cast iron skillet will work well too.

Grilled cheese with fig jam, goat brie, applewood smoked ham and arugula

Grilled Cheese Night is not a cop out, and it still totally counts as making dinner, even though it takes only minutes. Your kids will love you. You will love you. And that is worth more than a thousand protein-style cheeseburgers (with an allergy alert!!) from In-N-Out.

Grilled cheese with fig jam, goat brie, applewood smoked ham and arugula

My kids love this fancy grilled cheese sandwich with ham, brie and fig jam, but if yours don’t you can obviously give them a plain one. How boring! 😉

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Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam, Ham & Arugula

Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam, Goat Brie, Applewood Smoked Ham & Arugula

I love grilled cheese sandwiches. Even those made with American cheese on white bread. But when I learned a few years back that Los Angeles restaurant, Campanile, was serving gourmet grilled cheeses once a week (and that people were going crazy for it) I knew this was something that I wanted to try at home. It’s a brilliant idea, really, as it elevates the ordinary into the extraordinary. We have many different kinds of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, but this recipe is one of my favorites.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 2 sandwiches
Calories 489 kcal


  • Panini Machine or heavy skillet



  • Heat a Panini press or skillet over medium heat. Spread the fig jam on one side of each slice of bread. Top two slices of bread evenly with the cheese slices and ham. Divide the onions evenly over the remaining two slices of bread and top with arugula.
  • Close the sandwiches, brush the outsides lightly with olive oil, and grill in the Panini press for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the outside of the sandwich is golden brown. If you are cooking the sandwiches in a skillet or griddle, cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Slice into halves or quarters and serve immediately. With wine, natch.


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 489kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 24gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 991mgPotassium: 328mgFiber: 3gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 574IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 205mgIron: 3mg
Keyword grilled cheese, ham brie, fig jam
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One Comment

  1. That was Awesome…

    Looked Awesome…

    Alison, your a Good-looking Lady…Sorry a Sidebar comment 🙂

    Great Presentation….

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