Gilda Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches

It’s the little things that set a good grilled cheese apart from a great one. Here we are taking the concept of a gilda, a Spanish skewer of olives, anchovies and pickles, and turning it into a relish that gets stuffed inside a truly proper grilled cheese. When I say proper I mean, a grilled cheese whose bread is griddled on not one side but two, therefore maximizing crunch factor and ensuring melty cheese pulls in every bite.

Active Time: 15 Mins

Total Time: 15 mins



  • 2 garlic cloves


  • ½ cup (3 ounces) green olives
  • ⅔ cup pickled pepperoncini
  • 10 cornichons
  • 6 oil packed anchovies
  • 4 slices sourdough, preferably day old
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  • 4 ounces manchego
  • 4 ounces gruyere cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Make the Gilda tapenade:

  • Coarsely chop 3 ounces (½ cup) green olives, ⅔ cup pickled pepperoncini, 8 cornichons and combine in a small bowl. Smash 4 anchovies with the side of a knife, and add to the bowl along with 2 finely grated garlic cloves. Stir well to combine along with a splash of olive oil.

2. Prep the cheese:

  • Thinly slice (using a knife or vegetable peeler), 3 ounces manchego cheese and 3 ounces gruyere cheese.

3. Griddle:

  • Heat a couple glugs of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium. Add 2 slices of bread and swivel around to coat. Cook over medium, reducing the heat if you see that the edges are burning at all, until the bread is deeply golden brown and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread and some more oil (if you’re making 2 sandwiches).
  • Arrange all the bread, toasted sides up on a cutting board. To one side of each sandwich, layer half of the manchego and top with half of the gilda relish. To the other side, layer half of the gruyere. Hot tip: if you allow some of the slices of cheese to hang over the edge of the bread, those edges will turn to frico (crispy cheese lace) in the pan.
  • Close each sandwich. Return to the skillet and add another splash of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Set the skillet over medium and arrange both sandwiches in the skillet. Cook, until golden brown and crisp, flipping halfway, and adding another pad of butter as needed after the flip, 6-8 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat slightly if you notice the bread toasting more quickly than the cheese is melting.

4. Garnish:

  • Transfer each grilled cheese to a cutting board and season the outsides with salt.
  • Build a skewer for each sandwich, to hold it together, by skewering one pepperoncini, one olive, one anchovy and 1 cornichon on each toothpick. This is your gilda! Stick a gilda into each grilled cheese and serve.

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