Grilled Cheese Bar: The BLT and Cheddar
For the bacon and tomato jam:
- 4 slices smoky bacon, baked at 350°F to crisp on a slotted pan, finely chopped
- 8 Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded, chopped
- Salt and coarse black pepper
- 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- About 2 tablespoons sugar
For the sammies:
- Sliced country white or sourdough bread
- Softened butter
- Bacon and tomato jam (see recipe, included)
- Crisp smoky bacon (3 slices per sandwich)
- Beefsteak or vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (2 slices per sandwich)
- Chopped chives or thinly sliced shallots
- Super sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced (3 ounces or so per sammie)
To make the bacon and tomato jam, heat the tomatoes, bacon, salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, and sugar over medium-high heat until they bubble up. Reduce the heat and cook the jam over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until thick.
Next, make the sammies: Butter one side of sliced bread and build the sandwiches with the buttered sides facing out. Spread the sandwiches with jam on one side and stack up the bacon, tomatoes, chives or shallots and cheese and set the top slice of bread into place.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and cover the sandwich with foil. Cook to deep golden, 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally and pressing the sandwich as it cooks. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.