Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grilled Cheese, Bacon & Tomatillo Sandwich

Grilled Cheese, Bacon & Tomatillo Sandwich
Serves 4 - 6
Grilled Cheese, Bacon & Tomatillo Sandwich 
I love a great sandwich with a salad and/or soup. It’s a classic homey food and a “best childhood memory meal”. We ate grilled cheese sandwiches, we loved mac-and-cheese, but all I wanted was Kraft. With this long, wet winter, this seems as good a time as any to start making my own because these recipes are keepers. I take issue with the banality of most sandwich recipes.  I will actually change the channel if I see a food program that walks viewers through making a grilled cheese sandwich. I mean, is this how low the bar has dropped for “cooking”? But it’s not the shows that are to blame, it's the sandwiches because they are dull. Some sliced stuff and schmeer between two uninspired slices of bread. Who wants to stay around for that?  Not me, so I bring you not one but two twists on the classic grilled cheese. This week – augmented with my hubby’s favorite food, BACON!, and kicked-up with a tart tomatillo. Watch for the second, Upscale Grilled Ham & Cheese, which will be posted in the near future. For another great sandwich idea, see http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2012/02/best-sandwicheverblt-fried-egg-and.html.

Tomatillos are considered a staple in Mexican cooking and are members of the nightshade family. It now grows everywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavor are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Peel the husk by hand and wash them thoroughly in cold water to remove sticky residue from the surface. Fresh tomatillos can be used raw and cooked in recipes.  See previous post for more on tomatillos, “Fried Egg with Squash and Tomatillo” (http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2012/10/fried-egg-with-squash-and-tomatillo.html) for other uses of tomatillos.
Tomatillos....remove the husk!
  • 12 slices (½ inch thick) ciabatta bread
  • 2-3 Tb softened butter
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 tomatillos (6 oz), husks removed, rinsed and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 8-12 slices cooked bacon, broken into thirds
  • ¼ C cilantro sprigs
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices, or panela cheese

Spread a side of each bread slice with butter. Turn 6 slices over; top with cheddar cheese, then tomatillo slices, bacon, cilantro sprigs and mozzarella. Top with remaining bread, buttered side up.
Ciabatta bread. You can remove some of the interior to make it less "bready".
What goes into the sandwich....including bacon, nature's most perfect food!
Cook sandwiches in a large nonstick frying pan – working in batches or use two pans – over medium-low heat until golden brown on both sides and the cheese melts, about 8 – 10 minutes total. Or, use a panini grill if you have one. 

Simple, right?  You know it is. So it give a try – great for guests as well as a quick and tasty family meal.

Bon Appetit


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