07 January 2013

Eats: fire-roasted jalapeno and bacon grilled cheese sandwich

You guys know how obsessive I am about meal planning and grocery shopping, right? How each and every weekend, I schedule the meals for the upcoming week, raid our fridge and pantry for ingredients, and write a shopping list in the logical order that we find the items in the store? And perhaps you even know how I recently started using my iPod touch and Evernote to write that perfect grocery list? And how if I don’t know the order of aisles in the store so that my list is out of order, or worse yet, if I discover that they’ve moved the items in the store around, I get all hot and meltdown-y, right there in the Schnucks?

Yes. I own it. I own all of that.

Well, yesterday, we got all the way in the grocery store when I suddenly remembered... I forgot to sync Evernote to my iPod before we left the house. And without an internet connection, I didn’t have my grocery list. My perfect grocery list. MAYDAY MAYDAY. MELTDOWN APPROACHING.

Except. Except I stayed calm and decided I could shop without it. Mr. P appeared doubtful, standing there in the shopping cart corral as he quickly tried to download Evernote onto his iPhone so I could see my coveted grocery list before the meltdown arrived.

But I did it! I shopped without a grocery list. And I remembered everything! Every single thing on the list, and we didn’t even have to backtrack! High five! Life’s little accomplishments, right here.

What does that have to do with today’s recipe? Nothing really. Well, it involves food and it makes me happy so I wanted to tell you about it. Three things in common, good enough!

In keeping with my recent “sandwiches for dinner” theme, I wanted to share a grilled cheese we recently enjoyed. Grilled cheese seems simple enough, and it is... but I kicked it up a notch with a fire-roasted jalapeno, a la Joy the Baker and this dude. Then I kicked it up again with bacon because YES and goat cheese because HECK YES.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We start with a large jalapeno – enough for two mild sandwiches – and Mr. P’s grilling tongs.

As you can see, I’m trying to embrace my gas stove by using the open flame to roast the pepper. Sorry for the blurry photo, but I was trying to juggle my camera and the tongs and the pepper and oh yeah the open flame.

I kept the pepper moving over the flame, and it only took a few minutes. If you don’t have a gas stove – or if you are unwilling to deal with the open flame – you can easily roast the pepper under the broiler in your oven or toaster oven, as I did here.

After a few minutes – and after perhaps dropping the pepper in the flame once or twice, no big – the pepper was roasted-ish.

I could’ve roasted more, and maybe should have. You can get the skin totally black, and the pepper inside will (probably) still be totally fine. I chickened out and quit here, which was fine. But just know you can keep going!

I peeled off the blistered skin, sliced the pepper open, and removed all the white membrane and seeds with a knife.

Oh, by the by, Joy says you can steam the pepper to remove the skin more easily, and I’ve also heard that you can just wrap the pepper in a paper towel and pull the skin off that way. But for either of those methods, you’ve gotta roast the pepper more than I did. Just FYI.

Anyway. Dice up that pepper to your liking, then let’s move on to the bread. I used the same sort of Italian bread from here – four slices for two sandwiches – but you can use whatever floats your boat.

Butter it up (softening the butter helps with spreading evenly):

On the other side, I put a bit of mayo, then the peppers and bits of goat cheese:

Then I layered on a pepper jack shredded cheese blend… and bacon. Mmmhmmm.

A word or two about the amounts of ingredients on these sandwiches. I didn’t pile it on because, you know, health, but for a super melty grilled cheese, you’re going to need a bit more cheese than shown here. Also, if you’re expecting a spicy sandwich or if you’re skipping the bacon, use a whole pepper per sandwich instead of half (or use two, like Joy). Half a pepper per sandwich, shown here, provides only a bit of heat, so no worries if you’re sensitive to spiciness.

Anyway. You guys know the rest of this drill, it’s a grilled cheese. I sprayed a griddle with cooking spray, preheated it over medium flame, then toasted my sandwiches:

Just until the bread was brown and the cheese was melty. Then smoosh it together! Fire-roasted jalapeno and bacon grilled goat cheese sandwich, achieved!

It sounds so fancy, and tastes so delicious. Yet it’s so, so simple! Minimal effort with maximal impact, my kind of meal. This is definitely getting added to the rotation, either with more pepper or more bacon or more cheese, depending on what I have on hand.

You know, I’m really starting to get behind this grilled-sandwiches-for-dinner business. It’s an easy way to use up leftover ingredients (shh... that’s where the bacon and goat cheese came from) and comes together super quickly. Plus, I almost always have bread and cheese and butter around, meaning that if I ever have a shopping list debacle again without such a happy resolution? Well, then grilled cheese for dinner it is. Everybody wins! Enjoy!


Miles said...

I think your potential meltdowns are hilarious. I imagine you along for the ride during my family's weekly trip might send you straight to the loony bin.... Before we ever even make it out of the parking lot and into the store.

Good times.

Sarah said...

@Miles I sure won't argue with that... one of the many reasons I admire you :) Something about grocery shopping definitely flips the crazy switch in my brain.

Rachel C said...

The grocery store tale just made my Monday morning. I have images of your head spinning around like a cartoon character and Mr. P yelling at his IPhone "Faster! Faster!" Haha!