Featuring Da Vine Foods Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly
I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for a grilled cheese sandwich. I will order it almost anytime it is on the menu at a restaurant, and I love making fun versions at home! But this grilled cheese tops all the others and will take you straight to a French bistro... but this bistro is located on the beach with that tropical breeze and beautiful sunset! This Brie and Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly Grilled Cheese would be considered a gourmet grilled cheese at any restaurant, but it's super easy to make at home, with flavors that explode in your mouth!
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been a staple for many children over the last century or so, especially in North America (and we’re guessing other cultures, too). There are so many ways of making one it can make your head spin. If someone asks, “Do you like grilled cheese sandwiches,” they may as well ask, “Do you like soup?” But these sandwiches certainly lend themselves to some interpretation, elevation and experimentation. So…what do you think we did at Cooking with Wine Blog? Yep…all three.
What makes a grilled cheese?
At a high level of description, the components are pretty simple. Bread, cheese and a fat to brown the bread with proper enough heat and cooking technique to melt the cheese at the same time. The fourth component is “additions,” which we can talk about later, since we used a couple. In Mexican cuisine, the bread is replaced with a flour tortilla to make a quesadilla, although a corn tortilla quesadilla over an open wood fire is beyond words…but I digress.
So back to the grilled cheese... Many have grown up with processed white bread, buttered (maybe even with margarine), and cooked in a skillet with a processed American cheese filling. Maybe it was a different cheese, or bread or fat. Maybe it had ham, tomatoes, jam or herbs inside. Whatever the case, it’s still a grilled cheese. This Brie and Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly Grilled Cheese is a different journey, but not really anything more complicated, just slightly elevated.
The Essence of our Brie and Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly Grilled Cheese
We decided to try some things that we thought would work well together, but also provide a unique flavor, texture and experience. Let’s break it down. Number one…bread. The bread was the easiest choice for us as we make our own sourdough. However, this is so flexible that a number of breads are fantastic for this recipe. The least favorable for this classic (hang on to your hat…this is high level physics here) have large holes in them. Large holes can allow the cheese and other items between the slices to leak out and potentially burn in the pan. Although if you’ve ever tasted a little leaked cheese that got cooked to a golden brown in the pan you know that’s some flavorful stuff (digression alert…again). Sourdough with a fairly tight crumb it is for this.
The cheese is the next. We feel – for this grilled cheese rendition at least – that brie is a statement cheese that works so perfectly. A different creamy cheese with a similar texture and flavor profile (think Camembert or Somerset as alternatives) would work here also. The rind need not be removed but if you wish, go for it. Personally, we like the rind in the right proportion and in this sandwich, go ahead and leave some on. A little time in the freezer will allow you to slice this soft and creamy cheese to better assemble the sandwich, as well. When choosing your cheese, go for the firm end of the spectrum. All of these types of cheeses are “soft” but some are so creamy that they will lose their fat in the cooking process as they start out almost “melted.”
Here’s where we had some fun. We have two that really were game changers. Firstly, we added some passion fruit (lilikoi) pepper jelly with a perfect spicy infusion made by Da Vine Foods. Da Vine Foods Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Pepper Jelly took this grilled cheese to a whole new level! This sweetness from the jelly, sour/tangy/uniqueness of passion fruit, and perfectly finessed spice from the peppers was such an amazing compliment to the brie. Get your hands on this Lilikoi Pepper Jelly from Da Vine Foods and you won’t be disappointed.
The second addition was arugula (a.k.a. rocket for those of you across the pond). Sound crazy or ridiculous? Yeah, Mark thought it might be too, but I really pushed for this one, and he ended up loving it! It has a flavor that works perfectly with the Lilikoi Pepper Jelly and the brie. It rounds this out and provides a good “fat cutter” in this delectable, rich sandwich. I’m sure spinach or some low-moisture green would work also, but the peppery taste of arugula really goes well with everything here.
Lastly, what fat do you use to cook these gems? We decided on bison fat. JUST KIDDING…butter is the way to go here. Just unsalted butter…we already tricked up the rest, stay calm and simple here. But, there is a difference in ways to do this. You can melt the butter in the skillet and add the sandwich already put together. You can do the same and add the two halves separately (browning both sides at the same time) and then flip one side onto the other to finish. Or you can butter the bread instead of melting it in the pan and go that route. These produce different levels of difficulty, frustration and, most importantly, taste. So, you do you…it really doesn’t matter which you decide upon, they all work, but we describe our way below.
Assembly and Grilling
Assembling this thick Brie and Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly Grilled Cheese can be a bit messy if you aren't careful. Our go-to way to assemble is to butter one side of each piece of bread and lay it down in a skillet on medium-high heat, let it brown for a minute or so to your liking, then add the contents in the following order to one side of bread: arugula, cheese, passion fruit pepper jelly, more cheese, and then the other slice of bread. Then, you want to reduce heat to medium and smash the sandwich down a bit. Cover the skillet with a lid or foil as best you can to get the cheese to melt. Remember, brie is already a soft cheese, so you don't need to melt it away into nothing.
You shouldn't need to flip this grilled cheese unless you really want to, but this is up to you. The jelly will start to ooze out the sides and caramelize in the skillet, then you want to look for the cheese to begin to drip out the sides and you should be good to go!
What is Passion Fruit, or Lilikoi?
Passion fruit, or Lilikoi (its Hawaiian name pronounced like the lily flower and Koi like the fish), is a sweet and tart fruit found in tropical regions of the world. When cutting into these round, often yellow-skinned fruit, you will discover a pulp that contains small soft gel-like sacks surrounding black seeds, which are all edible! There is a thin white layer inside the smooth and fairly tough skin, which aren’t eaten due to their bitter taste and tough texture. But you can dig into the pulp with a spoon for a delightful treat. Or squeeze and strain the juices to add to a variety of recipes.
Da Vine Foods has done all the work for you, and they make high-quality and delicious passion fruit products fit for every meal! The Passion Fruit Pepper Jelly truly does something special to this grilled cheese, taking it to an elevated level that you can only find at the best restaurants.
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! You can order Da Vine Hawaii's Lilikoi products online straight from Hawaii by visiting the Da Vine Foods website HERE. We also encourage you to check out some of our other recipes incorporating Da Vine Foods products such as our Passion Fruit White Chocolate Mint Gelato, Passion Fruit and Peach Waffles, Polynesian Pulled Pork Tacos and Passion Fruit Cocktails.
If you want to try out the products, Da Vine Foods has given our users a special discount code to receive 15% off their products, and shipping is always free! Use code CWW15.
If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
If you like this recipe, check out some of our other recipes with passion fruit below: