Since this is a week of my favorite things, it could not be complete with out something made with cheese - smoked gouda to be exact. You see, I love cheese. Some of my favorite cheeses are creamy blue cambozola, hard and earthy moliterno, and brown Norwegian gjetost. All of these cheeses are relatively common, but I also love to go to cheese shops and try out something new. But the cheese I really can't resist? Smoked gouda. I can't get enough of the soft texture and the slight smoky flavor. I often cut it into cubes and take it to work for lunch or for a snack on the weekend, and I have also made an amazing mac and cheese with it (maybe I will post that here soon!).
Recently, my local Henry's Farmers Market was selling smoked gouda that was sliced for sandwiches. Whoa! I was all over that, and I might have bought quite a bit... Which is fine, because that meant I could make all sorts of things with my favorite cheese.
For a weekend lunch, I decided I felt like having grilled cheese. I picked up some fresh sourdough bread, opened my fridge to get out the sliced gouda... and also saw that I had beautiful green apples in the fridge. The wheels started turning in my head, and I thought the apples would be a tart and crunchy counterpoint to the creamy gouda.
Love the light freckles on this Granny Smith apple.
And guess what else I found in my fridge? BACON! Score! Ok, so at that point I had the trifecta of savory cheese, salty bacon, and sweet apples. And then I really did myself in: I grilled the sourdough bread in the bacon grease. Oh lords of the kitchen, you were smiling on me that day because that inspiration took the sandwich over the top with crispy, golden crust.
My sourdough bread was pretty big, so I actually sliced the sandwich in half and took some to work the next day. When I warmed it up in the microwave, it was almost as good as when I first made it, and my co-workers were definitely jealous! If I had any gouda left, I would be making this sandwich again this weekend. Maybe I should make another trip to the store?
Smoked Gouda, Apple, and Bacon Melt
Alright, who am I kidding here, this isn't really a recipe - it is more a matter of assembling some great-tasting ingredients.
So here is what I used:
Fresh sourdough bread
Applewood smoked bacon (about 3 slices per sandwich)
Sliced smoked gouda (the thinner sliced, the better for melting)
Granny smith apples (about 1/3-1/2 apple per sandwich)
And here is what I did:
I added a little bit of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat, then cooked the bacon until crispy and transferred it to a plate lined with paper towels. Next, I drained off a little bit of the remaining oil and bacon fat in the skillet, but I left most of it in the skillet. Keeping the heat on medium, added two pieces of sourdough bread to the skillet, and then added two slices of smoked gouda on top of each piece of bread. This fried the bottom of the bread in the bacon grease, and started to melt the cheese on top of the bread. When the bread was golden brown and the cheese was slightly melted, I added the bacon and apples onto one slice of bread and topped it with the other. At this point the cheese was sort of melted, but not as much as I would have liked. (The degree of melt at this point is what you see in the photos above.) To melt the cheese a little more, I put the entire sandwich in the microwave for a bit and then it was perfect. Mmmm..... I enjoyed it alongside some fruit and convinced myself it was a healthy lunch.