Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

Step up your grilled cheese game with this grown-up sandwich that includes a schmear of harissa, plus heirloom tomatoes and peppery arugula tucked inside. With two kinds of ooey-gooey cheese and that touch of spice, this makes one super-satisfying sandwich. Use less harissa for a tamer version or, if you like it hot, go for the full 2 Tbs. The number of tomato slices you need will depend on the size of your bread. Be sure to salt the tomatoes in advance; this will draw out the moisture and help prevent soggy sandwiches.


  • 2 to 4 slices heirloom tomatoes, each about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick (sliced crosswise)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, each about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. harissa  
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • About 6 oz. (185 g) extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 small handfuls of arugula
  • Flaky sea salt


Sprinkle the tomato slices on both sides with kosher salt and place on a paper towel–lined plate. Let stand for 10 minutes to draw out the moisture. Using a paper towel, pat the slices dry. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Spread one side of each bread slice with the harissa. Place the bread, harissa side down, in the pan and cook without turning until the bread and harissa are lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. (This will create a barrier to help prevent the bread from becoming soggy from the cheese and tomato juices.) Transfer the bread, harissa side down, to a plate.

Spread the plain side of each bread slice with the butter. Place 2 of the slices, buttered side down, in the pan. Top with half of the cheddar and Parmesan, dividing evenly. Arrange the tomato slices and remaining cheese on top. Cover each sandwich with one of the remaining bread slices, buttered side up.  

Cook the sandwiches over medium-high heat until the undersides are nicely toasted and the cheese starts to melt, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn the sandwiches over and cook until toasted on the other side and the cheese is completely melted, about 3 minutes more. If the bread is browning too quickly and the cheese hasn’t fully melted, cover the pan with a lid during the last few minutes of cooking.

Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board, gently open them and arrange the arugula on top. Close the sandwiches and cut them in half. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen