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Bacon, Cheese and Pickle Sandwich

December 8, 2009

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Sandwiches are delicious and easy to eat. Here is a sandwich that you can make in under 15 minutes and is warm and filling. Because this sandwich is so simple, they key to it is in the balance of the pickle and the meat. Pickles are very acidic from the vinegar used to make them and you need that acidity to balance the rich fatty flavor of the bacon. You could substitute any number of meats and pickled items in the same way and have a great sandwich. Ham, pastrami and chorizo would make good replacements for the bacon. cornichons, pickled onions or kimchee could replace the pickle. A Reuben sandwich is a great example of this idea with corned beef and sauerkraut in place of the bacon or pickle. Every culture in the word has some type of pickle.  I used a locally made spicy pickle for this sandwich.
PhotobucketI always recommend using a nice bakery bread if you have access to it. To start, Toss a few slices of bacon in a non stick pan over medium heat.  Thick sliced bacon is the best, or if you are really lucky you can buy slabs of bacon and slice it thick yourself. I learned some time ago that you can toast bread in a hot pan with a little oil, and not too long ago I read an article that said that david chang toasts his sandwiches this way, but only on the inside. This sandwich is perfect for inside toasting. Get about a tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil gets hot, put your 2 slices of bread in the pan and Let the bread toast and get golden brown. should only take a minute or two.
PhotobucketWhile the bread toasts, slice up whatever cheese you have around. I recommend an aged swiss, cheddar or fontina if you have access to it and can afford it, but any cheese will work. I used an aged gruyere (swiss). When the bread is toasted golden brown remove it from the pan and set slices of cheese on the toasted side of the bread. The heat from the bread will allow your cheese to melt just a bit. I also added a light spread of mayo to one of the bread slices.
When your bacon is done, set the strip on a paper towel to drain for about 30 seconds. Get a pickle out and slice it up. Add your bacon and pickles, slice it and serve it with some carrot stick, radishes or a sliced up apple. That is a well balanced lunch. Enjoy!

* For vegetarians, the balance is not the same. No vegetable has a fat content equal to a piece of meat, but similar rules can apply in vegetable sandwiches that use things like hummus, avocado or rich cheeses. Try things like olives or peppers that are brined because they will not have as high of levels of acidity as other pickled things.

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