April is National Grilled Cheese Month – one of my very favorite food holidays. While you can never go wrong with the standard grilled American cheese on white bread, it’s so much fun to come up with fun, gourmet versions of this classic recipe. Last April, I snuck some vegetables onto my sandwich with a spinach and artichoke grilled cheese that ended up being my #1 most popular post of 2013. Then, back in September, I decided to spice things up with my personal favorite – a gourmet grilled cheese featuring jalapeno jelly and sliced apple.
This week, the Sunday Supper group is celebrating Grilled Cheese Month with Gallo Family Vineyards. We were challenged to make a sandwich that either pairs well with wine or features wine as an ingredient. My brie, ham, and blackberry grilled cheese does both – it pairs amazingly well with a lot of different wines and I also used a splash of Merlot in the blackberry quick jam that makes the sandwich so special.
I know it seems a little strange to put fruit jam on a grilled cheese, but when it’s paired with ham and brie it definitely doesn’t seem out of place at all. The flavors work so well together and remind me of my favorite baked brie appetizer. Since brie stays creamy and melty at room temperature, these sandwiches are also good after they’ve sat for a while. I think they’d be great to bring on picnics this summer.
Since I opened a bottle of Merlot to make the blackberry jam, that’s what I served these with. It was a good pairing, but I also think they’d be great something a little lighter, like Cafe Zinfandel, or even a Pink Moscato.
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Merlot
- 8 ounces double cream brie
- 8 slices whole grain bread
- 4 slices honey ham
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Combine the blackberries, sugar, and wine in a shallow, wide-bottomed pan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the jam is thick, syrupy, and very fragrant – about 10 minutes. Let cool.
- Use a sharp paring knife to remove the rind from the cheese. Discard the rind and cut the cheese into small pieces, about 1/4-inch each.
- Lay 4 piece of bread on a flat surface. Scatter each piece of bread with 1/4 of the cheese. Top with a slice of ham. Slather each of the remaining sliced of bread with 1 tablespoon on blackberry jam (save any leftover jam for another use) and place, jam-side down, on top of each sandwich.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet or griddle set over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the sandwiches. Cook without disturbing for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and cook another 2minutes; cover the pan and cook another 1 minute.
Amount Per Serving Calories 521Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 70mgSodium 816mgCarbohydrates 56gFiber 6gSugar 31gProtein 25g