This delicious twist on a bacon grilled cheese sandwich uses piquant romesco sauce along with bacon, smoked cheddar and arugula to create a fantastic lunch.
So you may or may not be aware that April is Grilled Cheese Month, and today is the cheese of the cheese: Grilled Cheese Sandwich day.
Being a Brit, I wasn’t brought up with grilled cheese being such a staple as it seems to be here. Sure, my parents had a sandwich toaster and we would have toasted cheese sandwiches now and again. However, I think it was more of a hangover from a 70s trend than a true staple. It certainly wouldn’t appear in kids menus virtually everywhere you go as I have found here.
Either way, lets not knock a good thing. Grilled cheese can be truly delicious and has infinite possibilities (see my ‘green Greek’ grilled cheese and ‘jammin’ Jamaican chicken grilled cheese for some creative ideas). Bacon grilled cheese is one common variation, but I wanted to add my own twist on it. Since I had some romesco sauce in the fridge, it sparked an idea, and if I say so myself, a really good one.
Some tasty romesco sauce spread on both sides of the bread, some crisp bacon, arugula/rocket and smoked cheddar in between make for a delicious combination that I for one could eat over and over again. The romesco has a slight piquancy to it that works really well with the peppery arugula and, well, you can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese, can you?
I debated using manchego and Spanish iberico ham to make it a little more Spanish in feel, but manchego tends to more sweat rather than melt in my experience. Plus, the flavors of a smoked cheddar also complement the romesco really well. As for bacon as opposed to ham, well I felt that the crunch and smokiness of the bacon would work better here. You can of course play around and I still think manchego and iberico would be good, I just think this probably works better.
How it’s made
It’s a pretty easy sandwich to make as you just cook the bacon, brush the outside of the bread with oil, assemble and grill. Then bite in and enjoy. I don’t have a proper panini press as you’d get in a posh sandwich shop, but I find toasting on a griddle pan gives the same nice grill markings. True it doesn’t melt the cheese quite as much but it doesn’t stop it being delicious.
You can also just use a skillet/frying pan or if it’s nice enough when you have it, even put it on the grill/barbecue. If you cover it with a pan or something similar it will help the cheese melt more than I have here, but flavor-wise, everything will come through either way.
However you warm it to toast the outside and gently warm the interior, the end result is worth the little bit of effort. The flavors go so well together and it is a fantastically hearty lunch. Just make it soon, you won’t regret it.
Romesco and bacon grilled cheese sandwich
- 3 slices smoked bacon
- 2 slices bread sourdough is good
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil approx
- 2 tbsp romesco sauce approx, see separate recipe or store-bought
- 1 handful arugula rocket
- 5 alices smoked cheddar approx
- Cook the bacon as you prefer - either under the broiler/grill or in a pan. Cook until lightly crisp.
- Drizzle some olive oil on one side of each slice of bread and rub to coat evenly - this will become the outside of the toast.
- On the other side of both slices, spread a layer of romesco sauce.
- Then layer up the filling - on one side place a handful of arugula, then the bacon then the cheese and place the other slice of bread, romesco sauce side inside, on top.
- Cook for a few minutes on each side in a skillet/frying pan, grill pan or sandwich toaster as you prefer until brown on each side. Cover with a lid to help the cheese melt if you prefer.