Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Date Jam

For a gourmet twist on the humble grilled cheese sandwich, add some bacon date jam! Made from scratch with date paste instead of whole dates, you'll find that it's worth the extra effort.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon and Date Jam

Ingredients

For the Jam:

  • 12 oz. bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 large sweet onions, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup DateME Date Paste
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil

For the Sandwich:

  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Thick slices of French bread (or bread of choice)
  • Room temperature butter

Directions

Yield: About six sandwiches

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven), add chopped bacon and cook over medium heat until rendered and the fat is foaming, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Reserve about 2 tsp. of the fat in the pot.
  2. Once the bacon is cooled, place on a cutting board and finely chop.
  3. Return the pot with the reserved fat to medium heat and add the butter, onions and salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
  4. Stir date paste, sherry vinegar, 1 tsp. thyme leaves, black pepper and cayenne pepper into the onion mixture. Break the date paste up with a wooden spoon to help the melting process. Once ingredients are well incorporated, add the bacon.
  5. Stir the water into the mixture and cook until jam is a brick/brown color and has a jam consistency, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove jam from the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and remaining thyme leaves. Stir until shiny.
  7. Preheat a flat griddle or skillet on medium heat.
  8. To make the sandwich, take two slices of the bread and spread butter on one side of each slice.
  9. Place one slice of bread, buttered side down, on the griddle. Place a heaping amount of cheddar cheese on the top of the bread slice.
  10. Spread a good amount of the bacon date jam to the non-buttered side of the other slice of bread. Place this slice jam-side down on top of the cheese and bread already on the griddle.
  11. Grill sandwich on both sides until it is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the griddle.
  12. Repeat with the other slices of bread. Slice and enjoy!

Jam should easily make six sandwiches, depending on the amount used for each sandwich.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

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