I'm in the middle of a love affair with this sandwich. Its based on a sandwich offered at the Buzz Cafe, and is one of my favorite things to order whenever we stop in there for lunch, but the weather here has been so cold that even the short 2-block walk it just too long. The Buzz's Italian Grilled Cheese features mozzarella cheese, tangy tomatoes, smokey bacon, an "herb mayo" and a hint of sweet balsamic vinaigrette.
Tomatoes and bacon on toasted bread may sound eerily BLT-ish, but the cheeses transform this sandwich into a winter wonder. It is the absolute perfect thing to eat on a cold day. For my version, I used Italian bread, a smear of mayo, Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, provolone & Parmesan, a slice of bacon and a few tomato slices to create a crispy, gooey sandwich with a satisfying crunch.
Pair it with a steamy cup of soup or eat it on its own -- this sandwich is hearty enough that it doesn't really need any company. And its super simple to prepare, which is good because I rarely take the time to fix myself a real lunch. This is easy and yummy enough that its worth taking 5 minutes to make.
As I'm writing this, we're getting a few flakes of snow -- some of the first "real" snow we've seen in Chicago this year. The desk in my home office suffers from a bit of a draft and my feet have been freezing all day. As I work my way through each crunchy bite of this sandwich I can almost feel myself warming up. Mmmm.
Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
Two slices good-quality Italian bread
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon (a drizzle really) balsamic vinegar
2 slices provolone cheese
1/2 teaspoon shredded parmesan cheese
1 slice of bacon, cooked
3 to 4 slices of tomato
Olive oil mister or cooking spray
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Sprinkle each slice with Italian seasoning and a drizzle of vinegar. Place once slice of provolone cheese on one slice of bread. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over provolone. Arrange tomato slices and bacon on sandwich, then add remaining slice of provolone and the other slice of bread.
Place a small, non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. Carefully place sandwich in the pan, spray the top piece of bread with cooking spray/olive oil. Place a small pot lid (preferably one smaller than the size of your skillet) directly on the sandwich to hold it in place in the pan and help melt the cheeses. Cook sandwich for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom piece of bread is crisp and golden. Carefully flip sandwich over, replace pot lid and continue cooking for another minute or until second piece of bread is golden and cheeses are melted.