Cheddar and Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
8 slices applewood-smoked bacon (6 oz)
6 ounces Cheddar cheese, at room temperature (about 1 C. grated)
4 slices (from a medium to large loaf) country bread, sliced 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
1/4 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/16 inch thick
2 T. unsalted butter (1 oz), at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325Â°F (163Â°C). Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning it once after 10 minutes, until crisp, about 20 minutes total, depending on the thickness. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Divide half the cheese between 2 slices bread and then divide the apple slices between them. Place 4 slices cooked bacon on each sandwich, top with the remaining cheese, and sandwich with the remaining bread slices. Spread the outside of each sandwich with 1/2 T. butter per slice of bread. (You can cover and refrigerate the sandwiches for an hour or so before heating them.) Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook until the sandwich is golden brown and the cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side, pressing down with a spatula to flatten the sandwiches. (If the bread looks golden and done but the cheese hasnâ€™t completely melted, arrange the sandwiches in a single layer on a baking sheet and finish them in the still-warm oven.) Transfer the grilled cheese sandwiches to a cutting board and cut them in half or, if you prefer, into bite-size pieces (about 8 per sandwich). Arrange the grilled cheese on a plate or platter and serve.
Yield: 4 servings