Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Fig Jams

A while back, I was obsessing about fig jam and where I could find it. I don’t even remember anymore what I wanted to make with it but I snapped out of it pretty quickly because it seemed like a lost cause. Yesterday, I was shopping for groceries and mindlessly looking through the jam aisle and there it was – everything else in the shelves blurred into the background and my eyes zoomed right into FIG PRESERVES. It was all I could do not to squeal. I also found tomato preserves next to it. When it rains, it pours.

I popped them open for a taste once I got home and seeing as how preserves are supposed to contain sizable chunks of fruit, I concluded that they were more like jam. (Take a look at an interesting visual comparison on jelly, jam, and preserves below.) The tomato jam is sweet and slightly tangy. The fig jam has a depth to its sweetness and has the added texture of seeds. They feel almost identical to poppy seeds.

The whole time I was getting acquainted with my new jams, I was thinking grilled cheese. Now I’ve done a grilled cheese post before which was a lot of fun but this time, I wanted to keep it simpler. Not that another grilled cheese post needs an explanation. It’s grilled cheese! I lucked out on fig jam and I was ecstatic about that but the tomato jam was getting more and more interesting because grilled cheese is often paired with tomato soup. I happen to be a huge fan of adding a sweet element to grilled cheese because the saltiness and sweetness together is a winning, nay, jackpot combo so the tomato jam was like hitting two birds with one stone.

I made my grilled cheese with tomato and fig jams using:

2 slices of bread

mature cheddar cheese

softened butter

a heaping T each of tomato and fig jams

1. I had this cheese loaf from BreadTalk lying around which was perfect because there’s cheese swirling through the thing. This was a most welcome coincidence because my philosophy on cheese is “The more the merrier”.

2. Heat a grill pan on medium. Butter one slice of bread and place on the warmed grill pan, butter side down. Immediately top with cheese slices.

3. While the bread is toasting and the cheese is melting on top of it, spread jam on the other slice of bread. I couldn’t decide if I wanted tomato or fig so I had both.

4. Place jammed bread on top of the cheese, jam side down. Spread butter on top.

5. Check to see if the first slice of bread is toasted to your liking. If it is, go ahead and flip. Gorgeous!

I sliced up my grilled cheese into strips just for kicks. Besides, this way you could see what’s really going on inside my sandwich. Warm buttery bread that’s soft and crisp at the same time. The gooey, salty, rich cheese paired with sweet tomato and fig jams. It tastes like love.

Fun Food Fact: The tomato is a fruit. It’s all quite technical in the botanical world as opposed to the culinary world where it pretty much comes down to preparation. The part of the plant with the seed (ovary) is considered the fruit. So that’s eggplant, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini…


50 replies »

  1. Brilliant! there really is nothing better than grilled cheese. I normally have mine with chutney, but that tomato jam sounds like an interesting innovation. I love the grill stripes too!

  2. If you like figs I would definitely try Guava Paste or Goiabada. Most grocery stores have it in the Latin or International Food aisle. I use to have it as a kid when Brazilian relatives came to visit. It’s a very heavy and sweet but in thin slices is great served with a semi soft cheese, like jack. You can also use it for glazes and I’ve always wanted to use it to make a light mousse. 🙂

  3. The pics look awesome. says to grate the cheese before adding it onto the bread to ensure it melts before the bread burns. But I’ve found that cheese slices don’t need it. Do you experiment with cheeses for your sandwiches? I have a hankering for bleu cheese in a sandwich. Nice post. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

    • Thank you! As for the cheese, grating it isn’t a bad way to go but you’re right – it’s unnecessary! I pretty much stick to medium cheeses (as opposed to soft or hard) and I’ve never tried a grilled bleu cheese sandwich. Would be nice with some Asian pear slices and truffle honey, I imagine 🙂

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  5. Looks great! Don’t you just love it when all the ingredients are in the right place at the right time? (P.S. Does anyone know how to make tomato jam?)

    • I love that feeling, like the stars aligned for you or something 🙂 I actually made tomato jam once, when I was much younger, and it involved a lot of tomatoes and sugar. Wasn’t all that good but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing either 😛

  6. Oh boy, I just put on 5lbs looking at those amazing photos! My favorite fig preserves are those made in England. I’ve also found a really good one here in the USA at Whole Foods.

  7. Looks delicious! I love the fig jam and cheese combo – especially with goat cheese or manchego. Tomato jam sounds interesting – totally going to look for it. Thanks for the tip!

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