Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese (and baby kale salad)

While we're on the theme of grown-up-versions-of-kid-favorites... I just finished my second meal of this grilled cheese in two days so I thought I'd share.  This one was actually inspired by a recent episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food TV.  Someone was raving about a bacon sandwich and orange marmalade on pumpernickel bread from Prune restaurant in NYC.  The sweet+salty combo sounded fantastic (and right up a pregnant girl's alley.)  I added a few other ingredients to make this a truly dinner-worthy sandwich...

Makes 1 sandwich

2 slices of pumpernickel bread
2 slices of gruyere cheese
2 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and broken in half
2 super thin slices of pink lady/fuji/gala apple
dijon mustard
orange Marmalade
butter for the bread

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Butter the bread slices and put them butter side down in the skillet.  Spread marmalade on the inside of one slice and dijon mustard on the inside of the other. 

Place a slice of cheese on each piece of bread.  Toast until the cheese is melty and bread is golden brown (a bit hard to see on the pumpernickle so watch closely). 

Lay the apples and bacon on top of one bread slice and top with the other.  Remove from the skillet, slice in half and ENJOY IMMEDIATELY.  The melty cheese, toasty bread, crispy apples, sweet marmalade and salty bacon is scrumptious. 

I enjoyed my sandwich with a new favorite baby kale salad inspired by a local restaurant.   You can find baby kale in the salad section of some specialty groceries (or your local farmer's market).  It has a heartier texture than most salad greens so I actually like to slice it up so its easier to eat.  (I stole this idea from the restaurant.)  I take a handful and roll it up and then slice it chiffonade style with a large knife.

Toss the baby kale with dried berries (I like cherries and blueberries) and grated parmesan cheese.  Dress with a simple lemon vinaigrette and toss together.  Its another great sweet-salty-tangy combination.. AND the baby kale packs a powerful nutritional punch.