- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Crisp, toasted bread enfolding melted cheese and juicy meat is my ideal sandwich. Too often, however, hot sandwiches are relegated to winter meals.

Now that the weather is warming and outdoor grills are reappearing, I suggest adding hot grilled sandwiches to your summer repertoire. They’re easy and quick to grill and taste much better than the cold alternative.

When you grill a sandwich, you’re warming it, not cooking the ingredients. Wrap sandwiches in heavy-duty foil so the contents don’t burn. Don’t grill a sandwich over high heat or the bread will burn before the filling gets warm.

To transform a hot sandwich into a spring or summer dish, add a seasonal fruit topping to the combination. For example, arrange sliced peaches over ham or sliced plums over chicken. Cherries make a surprisingly good accompaniment to Canadian bacon and cheese. Saute sweet Bing cherries with onions and add a little heat with ancho chili powder. You’ll love the flavor and ease of this and other grilled sandwiches.

Cherry and bacon grilled sandwich

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup pitted and coarsely chopped sweet red cherries

1 pinch ancho chili powder

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or raspberry vinegar

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 5-inch long peasant bread

3 slices Canadian bacon

3 slices (or 3 ounces) fontina cheese

Heat canola oil in medium skillet. Add onion and cherries, and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in chili powder, vinegar and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.

Split bread in half. Set bottom half on large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Arrange bacon slices on bread. Top with fontina cheese. Spread cherry mixture over cheese. Close foil over sandwich.

Place sandwich on a grill over ash-covered coals. Grill for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove from coals. If desired, unwrap top of the packet and return to grill for one minute for a smoky flavor. If preferred, bake sandwich in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Unwrap top of sandwich and bake for 5 minutes longer to toast the bread. Slice the sandwich in half to serve. Makes 2 servings.


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