Smoky Southwestern Grilled Cheese
The recipe calls for either pasilla or Anaheim chiles; both work equally well, but pasillas are spicier and larger than the Anaheims.
- 2 pasilla or Anaheim chiles (or use canned chiles)
- 8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
- 4 ciabatta rolls, cut in half (or 1 loaf ciabatta cut into 3-inch wide sections, or use any type of Italian bread)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces mozzarella, coarsely grated (if watery, drain slightly and cut into thin slices rather than grate it)
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled or pinched into pea-size pieces
- 4 large slices tomato, ¼ inch thick
- To roast the peppers: Preheat the broiler. Or, if you have a gas stove, turn on one burner. Place the chiles under the broiler or, if using a gas burner, hold one chile with tongs over the flame. Cook, turning frequently, until skin is charred all over. Repeat with the remaining chile.
- Place the chiles in a resealable plastic bag and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Using a small sharp knife, scrape off the charred skin, cut off the stems, then cut the chiles into ½-inch-wide strips. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel, but do not wash it.
- To assemble: Pull out some of the center of each roll to create a well. Brush the outside of each roll with the oil. Place the 4 bottom pieces on your work surface, oiled side down. Distribute the mozzarella evenly over these pieces, followed by the bacon, chiles, tomatoes, and goat cheese. Place the remaining 4 pieces of bread on top, oiled side up.
- STOVETOP METHOD: Heat the same skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary) and press firmly with a spatula to flatten them slightly.
- Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown in places and the mozzarella has begun to melt. Uncover, and turn the sandwiches with the spatula, pressing very firmly.
- Cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown in places (the shape of the roll prevents uniform browning).
- Turn the sandwiches again, press with the spatula, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the mozzarella has melted completely. Serve immediately.
- SANDWICH MAKER METHOD: Preheat the sandwich maker (if it has adjustable heat, set it to medium). Follow directions for sandwich assembly. Put the sandwiches in the machine and pull the lid down very firmly to compress them. Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- GAS GRILL METHOD: Brush the grill rack with oil and preheat the grill to medium. Follow directions for sandwich assembly. Put the sandwiches on the grill, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (3 to 4 minutes if using bread slices) or until the undersides have distinct grill marks and the mozzarella has begun to melt. Turn carefully with a spatula, pressing very firmly to compress the rolls. Cover and cook about 4 minutes (2 to 3 minutes if using bread slices) or until the undersides have distinct grill marks. Turn again and cook for 1 minute, or until the mozzarella has melted completely.
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