Making a great grilled cheese sandwich is an art form. It’s comfort food that doesn’t have to be fast and doesn’t have to be junk. It’s a simple meal that when made right, can be scrumptious and satisfying in all the rights ways. And it’s as American as apple pie! Speaking of apple… Have I ever mentioned that I love apples? I even add fresh apple slices to my burgers! So why not in a grilled cheese sandwich, I thought. It’s crunchy, sweet and sour at the same time and it goes amazingly well with the ooey gooey richness of the melted cheese. So I put some thought into it. I mean, if I was going to reinvent such a classic American staple, I needed to do it justice. So after some consideration and a discovery of sorts, I present to you… my Apple Relish & Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich!
The star in this sandwich is without a doubt the amazing Spicy Caramel Apple Relish. It was so good I admit I contemplated writing a separate post just for the relish. But what good is a Rolls-Royce engine without the car it’s fitted in? So after some thought, I realized the best vehicle to showcase this delicious Apple Relish was a dressed-up grilled cheese sandwich! The combination of sweet and spicy in this relish was so good that I have put some extra in a bottle and I’m keeping it separately so I can have it later with just about anything!
In keeping with the sweet and spicy theme and to take this sandwich to the next level, I made these Sweet and Spicy Bacon for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich! Because as you very well know, bacon makes everything taste better.
I made my own crusty bread loaf for this sandwich (which is what you see in the pictures on this post), but you can use your favourite bread, and then cut 1 – 1.5 cm slices. Be generous with the Apple relish too, it tastes amazing and you can even have a vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich with just the cheese and the relish if you prefer.
My husband is SUCH a big fan of this sandwich, although he did have one complaint – “More Bacon Please!” So I have revised the recipe accordingly.
The addition of fresh apple slices was also a great idea! It gives a nice tartness, crunch and freshness to the grilled cheese sandwich. Plus it enhances the apple flavour.
I used Cheddar, but you can use your favourite cheese. I would suggest a combination of Cheddar and Provolone for the sharp flavour (from the Cheddar) and the creaminess (from the Provolone) that work like a charm in this sandwich.
Spicy Caramel Apple Relish
- 1 green Apple cored, sliced into eighths and segments sliced into smaller pieces
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 of a medium onion thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp dried chili flakes Reduce this to 1 tbsp or less if you prefer it less spicy
- 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the sugar, salt and onion and cook until the onion has softened and the sugar has melted and is thickening.
- Add the sliced apple and the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat until the apple softens and the onions and apples start to caramelize. About 20 - 30 minutes.
- Make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Apple & Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 12 cooked Bacon Slices 3 per sandwhich
- 1 recipe of Sweet & Spicy Apple Relish recipe above
- 1 Green Apple sliced
- Cheddar cheese sliced or grated (3 - 4 slices of cheese per sandwich or according to your preference)
- Provolone cheese sliced or grated
- Melted Butter
- 8 slices of crusty bread
- Heat a cast Iron griddle pan or any griddle pan and while it's heating brush 2 bread slices with melted butter on both sides.
- Place the slices on the pan to slightly brown them.
- On the browned side, spread a layer of sweet & spicy apple relish
- Next add 3 slices of green apple
- Cut 3 pieces of bacon in half and place them on top of the apple
- Top with a mix of cheddar and provolone
- Place the 2nd slice of bread on top (browned side down)
- Insert a toothpick to hold the sandwich together
- Return the sandwich to the hot grill or griddle pan and heat on each side over medium heat for about 3 minutes each. OR you can use a Panini press.
- To make sure cheese melts properly - gently press the sandwich down on the grill.
These would be great for outdoor grilling too! Instead of the bacon, you can add some thinly sliced Roast beef or Pork and grill them to perfection. Really, the possibilities are endless.
The texture and flavour combinations in this sandwich are so delightful, they will truly redefine what a great grilled cheese sandwich should be like for you! It’s the mix of right ingredients, prepared the right way that will give you the most satisfying meal without even breaking a sweat.
What’s your favourite grilled cheese sandwich? Have you tried it with apple before? Let me know with a comment below.