- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2005

If grilled cheese sandwiches weren’t imprinted in your memory during childhood, don’t worry. You can compensate for that deprivation now.

What was originally a quick lunch or snack of skillet-heated cheese and bread is again chic. There are restaurants devoted to grilled cheese. And if you check a bookstore, you’ll find cookbooks consisting entirely of grilled cheese sandwich recipes.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to make a grilled cheese sandwich at home. And your ingredient options are much improved over the products moms used to rely on.

Instead of using a flabby white bread, you can start with an artisan whole-grain or sourdough loaf. In place of processed cheese, you can try a fine, aged and sharp cheddar.

The following recipe for grilled cheese with peppered bacon and sauteed onions makes a weekend lunch. Add a salad and you’ll create a fine new food memory.

Beet, orange and spinach salad

1 large beet, cooked, peeled and diced in ½-inch pieces

1 large seedless orange, peeled and pith removed, sliced in ½-inch pieces

2 packed cups baby spinach leaves

Chipotle-honey dressing (recipe follows)

Combine beet, orange and spinach in a bowl. Toss to combine. Prepare chipotle-honey dressing. Pour over salad just before serving. Toss well. Makes 2 servings.

CHIPOTLE-HONEY DRESSING:

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/16 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or to taste (see note)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine honey and vinegar in a cup and stir well to dissolve honey. Stir in oil, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper.

Note: Chipotle chili powder is available in most supermarkets or substitute cayenne pepper, but add just the smallest pinch to start. You can always add more if the dressing isn’t hot enough for your taste.

Grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches

6 strips bacon, preferably pepper-flavored

4 thin onion slices

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 thin slices sourdough bread (cut from a 7-inch-round bread)

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Arrange bacon in a large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on the first side; 2 minutes on the second side, or until crisp.

Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion slices and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned.

To assemble sandwiches, spread ½ tablespoon mustard on each of 2 bread slices. Top each of the mustard-covered slices with half the bacon.

Add half the onions and half the cheese. Top with remaining bread slices. Ease sandwiches into skillet and saute in any remaining bacon drippings over medium heat. Allow 5 to 6 minutes on the first side and 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, or until golden.

Press down with spatula while browning sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half for easier eating.

Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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