Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
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United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Sandwich You Must Try

OK, I have a sandwich here that is so good and so unique that you must try it. I am not kidding. Unless you are adamantly opposed to a key ingredient, wildly allergic or incredibly health conscious, you need to give this one a try. It’s a Bacon and Gruyere Panini with Green Apple, Sauerkraut and Grainy Mustard.

We got the idea for this sandwich from our latest shipment from the Bacon of the Month Club. This month’s featured bacon is Father’s Hickory Smoked Cinnamon-Sugar Country Bacon. This delicious bacon comes from Gatton Farms in Bremen, Kentucky. According to the literature that came with the bacon, the meat is dry-cured with sugar, then it hangs in refrigerators for 10 weeks at various temperatures, then it is aged. Along the way, the bacon is hand-rubbed with a mixture of double-strength cinnamon and sugar. This bacon is delicious and you can really taste the cinnamon and sugar flavor. It’s subtle, but it is definitely there and it makes for a very special bite of bacon.

As always, our bacon of the month came with a recipe. When we saw the recipe for Bacon and Gruyere Panini, we knew we had to try it.

Bacon and Gruyere Panini with Green Apple, Sauerkraut, and Grainy Mustard
Adapted from a recipe provided by The Grateful Palate
Serves 2

4 slices bacon, halved crosswise
4 slices pumpernickel bread
grainy mustard
2 ounces sliced Gruyere cheese
¼ cup drained sauerkraut
¼ Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. This should take about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan.
2. Next, assemble the sandwiches. Lightly butter the inside of the bread and then spread mustard on one side of each sandwich. For each sandwich, layer ¼ of the cheese slices on top of the slice with mustard, then pile on half of the bacon, then add half the apple slices, then add half the sauerkraut, then the remaining ¼ of the cheese. (This sounds way more complicated than it is…basically, just divide up the ingredients fairly between the two sandwiches and stack them on.) Press the top piece of bread firmly onto each sandwich. This is how ours looked at this stage:

3. Cook the sandwiches in the bacon pan over medium-low heat until melted inside and toasted outside. Press down on them firmly with a spatula to compact them as they cook. This should take about 4 minutes per side.

Seriously, these sandwiches are amazing. The flavor and texture combination here is unbelievable. You have rich, savory pumpernickel bread providing the backdrop for crisp, full-flavored bacon and luscious melted Gruyere. Those ingredients alone would make for a standout sandwich. But then you add the Granny Smith apples and the sauerkraut and the whole thing just explodes. These ingredients provide the added interplay of sweet/tart and hard/soft contrasts.

While this sandwich may not be heart healthy or low calorie, it is absolutely worth the caloric splurge to try it. It’s one of the most unique flavor and texture combinations I’ve had in a sandwich and it’s absolutely delicious. If you try it, I hope you agree.

Next time At Our Table: What’s up with Lima?