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The Quintessential Grilled Cheese

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Serves 4 | Prep Time 10 | Cook Time 15

Why I Love This Recipe

I am a mini-van driving, dog walking, short order cooking, sometimes fashionably dressed mom and wife. I love to cook; I love to experiment with food-often successfully, sometimes tragically. I am also someone who just loves how certain foods and even the smells of certain foods can give you a feeling of comfort like a long lost grandmother’s hug. Making grilled cheese sandwiches has always had a way of transporting me back to the fourth grade science fair when my mother made “The Perfect Grilled Cheese.” I think it was just American cheese on toasted white bread, but I felt certain at the time that the extra effort of not making an ordinary cold sandwich spoke volumes of her love for me (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just that there were no cold cuts in the house). I can still remember coming home on the lunch break to the smell of butter toasted bread and melting cheese…it almost didn’t matter if my photosynthesis project was a prize winner or not…I felt like a winner knowing this cheesy treat was for me. As I try to impart on my own children that same comfort from ordinary foods I try to make them grilled cheese often. This recipe goes one step further than my mother’s perfect sandwich, it is the “Quintessential” grilled cheese with added veggies and bacon…shouldn’t we always try to do better than our parents did?

Ingredients You'll Need

1 large onion
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
8 slices thick cut bacon
4 tablespoon butter, room temperature
8 slices brioche bread or similar white bread
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
8 (1/4 inch thick) slices tomato
4 ounces good quality Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced using a vegetable peeler
4 ounces Gruyere or Imported Swiss cheese, thinly sliced using a vegetable peeler


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Peel and thinly slice the onion and separate into rings. Heat the butter and oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet. Add the onion to the skillet along with the brown sugar; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the onions over medium heat until golden and tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange the bacon in a single layer on the foil lined pan and bake in the preheated oven until browned and crisp, about 10-13 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel lined plate.

Spread the butter on one side of each of the bread slices. Preheat a griddle or pan to medium heat.

Place 4 slices of bread butter side down onto the griddle. Layer the bread with the cheddar cheese, followed by the bacon, tomato slices, Parmesan cheese, caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese and remaining bread slices butter side up. Cook the sandwich turning occasionally until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

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