GRILLED CHEESE AND JALAPENO POPPER SANDWICH
I can't believe I let almost let April go by without celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month. After all, grilled cheeses are one of my most favorite foods of all time. I grew up on the things, evolving all the way from Kraft American Yellow-oh-so-fake cheese (if you can call it that, they don't even call it cheese) between two slices of oh-so-not-real-white-bread. Yes, you guessed it: Wonder Bread. Yessiree, those days are long gone. Today I like better breads, different real cheeses and complex flavors. No wonder why this recipe struck my eye.
Here is the recipe as presented. As I often do with recipes I sometimes have to experiment because I don't have all the required ingredients on hand. Other times I sub out different ingredients just to switch things up more to my liking. For this sandwich it was a little bit of both.
2 slices sourdough bread
1 jalapeno peppers
2 ounces goat cheese, softened
1 tablespoons butter
2 slices cooked bacon
1 tablespoons apricot preserves
1. Set the oven to broil and cook the jalapenos until skins blacken and blister. Remove jalapenos from the oven and transfer immediately into a plastic bag or other sealed container. Seal and let steam until cool enough to handle, about 10-20 minutes. Remove blackened skins.
2. Spread one of the slices of bread with the goat cheese. Next, top with roasted jalapeno peppers, then bacon.
3. Spread the other piece of bread with the apricot preserves, and put on top of the other piece. Butter each side of the sandwich, and toast in saucepan over medium heat until bread is toasted, about 4-5 minutes per side.
In truth, when I first read it, it sounded like it was either going to taste really, really good. Or really, really gross. Apricot preserves and jalapeños... hmmm. I've cooked with enough hot and sweet combinations in recipes though that I was pretty sure this sandwich could work.
My version of the grilled cheese jalapeno popper sandwich
I followed the directions as given, sans the whole roasting the jalapeños thing. Because I had a jar of pickled jalapeños I am trying to get through so I just used some of them.
Also, I used a slice of homemade bread from the freezer vs. store bought sourdough.
I substituted creme cheese instead of goat cheese. Again, I had it on hand and fellow commenters of the Basil blog where I got this recipe said they did as well and it turned out fine.
I wanted a little more cheese texture than I knew the cream cheese would provide, so I added some Gorgonzola crumbles.
Lastly, I had bacon as well as apricot preserves, so no change there.
Challenges and tips for next time
My bread was a little thicker than standard slices, so it browned just a bit before all the cheese was melted to my liking. Fifteen seconds in the microwave fixed that problem. The gorgonzola turned out to be not the best choice. It was a little overpowering. Next time I think I will go with a Feta, or a mild white cheddar. Lastly, I will up the bacon rather than put it on in a strip, so I can get a piece of bacon in each bite.
Overall though, this sandwich was really, really good. I'm definitely glad I made it and will for sure make it again. The buttery crisp texture of the outside of the sandwich with its signature crunch. OMG. It's what a grill cheese lover lives for.
My fears about a flavor clash of the preserves and the jalapenos did not happen. If anything, you need the sweetness to balance the heat. The bacon adds a salty zip and the cheese, well, as said best in Farmer in the Dell, the cheese stands alone. Don't let the flavor combos scare you off! You have to try this sandwich!!