try this: ultimate grilled cheese

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a new recipe with you. I guess the winter’s just like that – you get stuck in a cooking rut. Well, that, and there’s nothing like a big bowl of chili {every week} to warm you from the inside out. Anyway, I got the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook – How easy is that? – for Christmas, and last Friday, I tried this recipe out on my hubby. I wish that there were words to describe to you how unbelievably wonderful this grilled cheese sandwich is, and how, after just one bite, you will wonder how you ate grilled cheese any other way. I guess you’ll just have to make it to find out. Also – I really am sorry that I don’t have a picture of this to show you, but, um, we were really hungry.

Ingredients:
12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as Nodine’s applewood smoked
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 white pullman loaf or sourdough bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick (12 slices)
6 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
6 ounces aged Gruyere or Comte cheese
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, such as Cabot or Shelburne Farms

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter. Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture. Don’t neglect the corners!

Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disc and combine. Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread. Pile 1/3 cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.

Meanwhile, heat an electric panini press. When the press is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 2 minutes. Cut in half and serve warm.

Serves 6

My edits:
Since I was just cooking for the 2 of us, I cut this recipe in half, but I found that the mayonnaise mixture could have been cut in half again, there was SO much left over. I bought pre-grated cheddar, just because I’m lazy like that, and once it came time for me to make this recipe, I realized I had forgotten to buy the Gruyere cheese {which I actually really love, and was disappointed about} so I used the provolone that I had in my fridge instead. I used unsalted butter because I’d like to keep my blood-pressure at the low rate at which it currently stands. Oh, and I forgot to add pepper, but it still tasted DELICIOUS. I don’t have a panini press, so when I put the sandwiches on the griddle, I just put a heavy pot on top to press them down and got the desired results. I’m sure all of these edits changed the very essence of this recipe, but you know what? It was still the best grilled cheese sandwich we’ve ever had, and that’s a great outcome.

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