Wow, I had no idea how behind I was on Barefoot Bloggers assignments until I just went to my Barefoot Bloggers tag and saw it's been quite some time since I've done any of them. Oops!! I hope I don't get kicked out of the group. I'll have to look over what ones I've missed and try to incorporate them into my next couple weeks' meal plans. I tell ya, moving a couple months ago really threw a wrench into a lot of things!
I was excited to see a bonus recipe for August from Ina's not-yet-released new cookbook. And it claimed to be the Ultimate Grilled Cheese. Why wouldn't I try something like that?! We're big fans of grilled cheese around here. Plus it had bacon...cheese and bacon together?! Yes please!!
Ultimate Grilled Cheese
From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is that?
•12 slices thick-cut bacon, such as Nodine’s applewood smoked
•1 cup good mayonnaise
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
•1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1 white pullman loaf or sourdough bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick (12 slices)
•6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (for spreading, you probably won’t use it all)
•6 ounces aged Gruyere or Comte cheese
•6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, such as Cabot or Shelburne Farms
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bacon on a baking rack set over a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and cut in 1-inch pieces.
2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Lay 12 slices of bread on a board and spread each one lightly with butter. Flip the slices and spread each one generously with the mayonnaise mixture. Don’t neglect the corners!
3. Grate the cheeses in a food processor fitted with the largest grating disk and combine. Distribute the bacon evenly on half the slices of bread. Pile 1/3 cup grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon and top with the remaining bread slices, sauce side down.
4. Heat an electric panini press. When the press is hot, cook the sandwiches for 3 to 5 minutes in batches until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. (Or, heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low, place two sandwiches at a time inside, and use a lightweight metal cake pan to weigh them down gently. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches, press them down with the cake pan, and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat until all of the sandwiches are done.)
5. Allow the sandwiches to cool for 2 minutes. Cut in half, and serve warm.
We were too excited to try these, so we cooked the bacon in a skillet instead of in the oven. That's the only change I made because I trust Ina and assumed they'd be awesome. Well, I was right. They were freakin' fantastic!!! I probably went overboard on my cheese usage, but for the ULTIMATE grilled cheese, I figured that was acceptable. The husband thought these would be better on a Texas Toast style bread and done in the skillet instead of a panini press, but he ate two sandwiches so he must not have had too much of a problem with them.
This will definitely go into our sandwich/panini rotation for sure!! Way to go, Ina!!
We like cheese in our house!
My husband is the bacon cook in our house. He was a master grill operator at the Waffle House back before I knew him, so all breakfast food cooking duties are his.
Cover your keyboards so you don't get drool on them!!