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A summer spin on the grilled cheese sandwich

Katie Workman
Associated Press

Several weeks ago when we rolled out the grill for the first time of the season, there was much joy. What to grill first? Ribs? Burgers? Pizza? So many choices.

This is the sandwich that triumphed: A marriage of a summer BLT and an actually grilled-grilled-cheese sandwich. The buttery crunch of the bread, the juicy tomatoes, the melty cheese, the crisp bacon and lettuce — these two sandwiches were meant to find each other and become one.

You can use iceberg lettuce if you want more of a crunch, and you can experiment with various types of cheese and bacon or pancetta. User your imagination, and this recipe will make this the summer of grilled cheese.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

8 slices sourdough bread

4 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or choose your favorite cheese)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

8 strips cooked bacon or pancetta

8 large pieces romaine lettuce or iceberg for more crunch

3 plum tomatoes, sliced

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to medium low.

Butter one side of each of the pieces of bread. Evenly divide the cheese between 4 slices of the bread, on the un-buttered sides. Place all of the bread, buttered side down, on the grill and cover the grill. Grill the bread until the bottom is lightly marked with grill marks and the cheese is melted. You may need to remove the plain pieces of bread first, and move the cheese covered pieces to the top grill rack and cover the grill for a couple of extra minutes, so that the cheese melts, but the bottoms of the bread slices don’t burn.

Spread the mayonnaise evenly over the unbuttered sides of the 4 pieces of plain toast. On the melted cheese slices, layer the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Place the mayonnaise spread slices mayo-side down on the sandwiches, slice, and eat warm. Serves 4.

Per serving: 1,042 calories; 30 g fat (13 g saturated fat; 26 percent calories from fat); 150 g carbohydrates; 15 g sugar; 54 mg cholesterol; 2,169 mg sodium; 43 g protein; 8 g fiber.