Friday, August 04, 2006

Running Food: Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You are going to think this is really strange, but please bear with me.

Tonight for dinner, I made (as Emeril might say) a really “kicked up” grilled cheese sandwich. It contained sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, ham, tomato, and a surprise ingredient; I used my cinnamon-raisin bread.

Before you scoff and say, “How disgusting,” let me tell you this actually works very well.

If you take the ham out of it, I had the very same sandwich years ago at the now defunct East Bay Hotel restaurant in Grand Marais, MN. It was absolutely delicious, and I was thinking about that last weekend when baking my cinnamon-raisin bread.

And, I have learned from Food Network star chef Giada de Laurentiis that cinnamon and cured pork products go very well together, as her awesome recipe for Cinnamon-Pancetta Carbonara showed me.

The cinnamon gives warmth, the raisins and the tomatoes give sweetness, and we get a contrasting salty, smoky goodness from the bacon and ham. Add a nice sharp cheddar to the mix and you have a dang good sandwich. I can’t explain it, but the ingredients seem to balance each other out. Trust me, this is good!

All you need is the following:

-A little butter or oil for the pan
-2 slices of cinnamon-raisin bread (or any good bread, in case you don’t trust me!)
-1 slice of smoked ham
-2 slices of good bacon, cooked
-2 slices of tomato
-Grated sharp cheddar cheese

Top the bread with all the ingredients and cook on a griddle or fry pan over medium heat for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. It helps to press down on the sandwich while cooking in that it makes more solid contact with the pan, thereby cooking quicker. Slice it in half and enjoy!

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