Elevate Classic Grilled Cheese With A Slather Of Mostarda

It's difficult to improve upon a classic grilled cheese, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try, and mostarda might be the ingredient you need to push the envelope and your taste buds. Mostarda is an Italian condiment that combines mustard and both fresh and dried fruit into a chutney-like consistency, with fruity and spicy flavors that play off of one another to please your palate and clear your sinuses. It's already a delicious addition to a cheese board, so naturally, it also works great in a grilled cheese.

While various fruits can be used to make a mostarda, mustard — either dried or a whole-seed version — is the key ingredient to creating its unique flavor. When using this condiment on your grilled cheese, you want to spread it on both slices of bread before piling on your cheese, putting the slices together, and placing it on the griddle. Cook until golden brown on the outside and ooey and gooey on the inside. The melted cheese mixes with the fruity, spicy syrup-like liquid in the mostarda, creating a savory, sharp, and sweet bite that your tongue won't soon forget. 

Another crucial consideration when using mostarda on a grilled cheese is choosing the right pairing. Mostarda comes in tons of varieties, just like cheese does, so pairing the two in a synchronized manner makes your sandwich even better.

Cheesy and fruit combos

When choosing the cheese for your sandwich, pick one that complements the fruity flavors of your mostarda. If apples are the star of your mostarda, a white cheddar is going to offer lovely savory notes that contrast with the sweetness of the fruit, while also tempering the spicy nature of the mustard. If your mostarda di frutta (as it is called in Italian) uses pears as its base, consider making your grilled cheese with a nutty, young gouda, or turn to an intense, zesty Manchego if your fruity spread contains sweet figs, apricots, or dates. The contrast is both sophisticated and delightfully flavorful.

If you can't find a store-bought mostarda that suits your palate, or none of the products you find mesh with your favorite cheese, you can make your own mostarda. However, it can be labor-intensive. You will need to macerate your fruit of choice in sugar several times to create a thick syrup, before adding the mustard for a proper bold flavor. You will then need to simmer the fruit in the mustardy syrup to finish. If you're short on time, find a specialty store that carries this condiment and experiment with it to create your favorite elevated grilled cheese.