The Grilled Cheese BLT

The Grilled Cheese BLT

My excuse is that it's Friday night, after a long, gruesome few weeks. I normally don't do bread, but I thought it would be a little bit of happy to have a sandwich. Well, not a sandwich, per se, but a BLT.  I found thick sliced applewood smoked bacon with no preservatives or nitrates at Trader Joe's, and I was committed. I picked up extra sharp cheddar cheese, and found beefsteak tomatoes in their meager produce section. It was like the gods were smiling down on my BLT idea. I picked up a head of iceberg lettuce, and wandered over to the bread section. Yesterday, I made a bread-less sandwich, and I was fine with it, until I realized it was just a salad. A stupid salad. I know I love salad more than just about anything, but I think sandwiches might actually be one step higher on my awesome foods of all times list. Like everyone else, I've eaten sandwiches since I was a kid, but I remember the first amazing sandwich I had that changed my life. Well, changed my outlook on sandwiches. ; )  I was 16, working at an auto parts store, and getting hit on my lecherous boss who was, by his own admission, 30 years older and 50 pounds heavier than he should be, otherwise I wouldn't be able to restrain myself, he was sure.  Oy. He required the girls to wear skirts, preferably short ones, and then he would make us climb up our signboard to change the sale price on windshield wipers or whatever asinine product he was peddling. I refused, and dared him to fire me for it, knowing that I didn't have to work in that kind of environment. Hey, I'd seen 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton, I knew I had rights. ; ) Old Syd didn't fire me, he liked being surrounded by young girls, and let's face it, the auto parts industry has never been crawling with hot young co-eds. And so I kept my job, and got promoted from cashier to parts counter. My ability to learn on the job quickly and efficiently soon had me outpacing the old timers, who were there more to chew their cuds and kvetch about how crappy they made new cars these days; they didn't appreciate me, but the younger guys coming in for auto parts did. I didn't care, it was a job and a paycheck, and beat frying chicken at KFC, my first job.  I made more peddling auto parts, and that translated to buying lunch every day that I worked. And across the street was a sandwich shop. Not a sub shop, not a chain, but an honest to goodness, family owned sandwich shopped with fresh baked bread, sandwiches custom made, soups of the day that were freshly made from scratch, and frozen yogurt. Oh, it was heaven. The first time I went in, it was out of desperation - I had 30 minutes for lunch, couldn't stomach any more KFC (across the street and down 6 buildings, but who was counting) and that left me some no-name sandwich shop as a lunch option / escape from Syd. I ordered a bowl of cream of broccoli soup that first visit, and started crumbling saltines to put in it because I'm not a soup fan. Only the second I tasted the soup, I knew the saltines were a mistake; the soup was amazing. AMAZING. I don't think I have from scratch food like that before that day. The ladies running the shop were like grown up me; into fresh ingredients, freshly prepared foods, bright flavors that will never some from anything processed. I was hooked, immediately. I went back day after day, spending my carefully earned (no thank you, Syd, I WOULDN'T like to climb up the sign to change the price on some stupid item that I KNEW had already been changed once that day just so you can get a creepy shot at my panties, you son of a bitch) money on food I didn't really need to buy, but couldn't resist. The sandwiches were an experience.  The bread was so soft, but not in the synthetic, weird way that Wonder bread is soft; the crumb itself was soft, airy, high. Fresh avocado, mayonnaise, dijon mustard... and then the cheese, fresh lettuce, and whatever lunch meat. Actually, I often ordered the vegetarian sandwich , I was so enamored with the combination of fresh, fresh bread and crisp vegetables. I digress, but I think I've proven my point that sandwiches are a true comfort food for me. And so, that is how I found myself on this Friday night, caving a sandwich.  But not any sandwich, a bacony cheesy happy sandwich. I knew I couldn't face another double double fatty melt, so that left me with a BLT. Only I couldn't give up the thought of melty cheese... and that is how I ended up with a grilled cheese blt.

Into the oven went the bacon to brown happily away; in the meantime, I sliced the sourdough bread loaf into 1/2" thick slices. I slathered one side of each with butter; on the other side, I layered slices of extra sharp cheddar.  I sliced the beefsteak tomatoes a little thicker than normal, and sliced iceberg lettuce.  I placed the bread slices butter-side down in a hot saute pan, and left them on until the cheese was melted and the bottoms were gently browned.  Then I layered the tomato, lettuce, and a mayo-dijon mustard blend on top, and topped that with sliced avocado.  The other cheese covered slice of bread went on top of that to complete the sandwich. Magical, I'm telling you. I was so excited about the sandwiches I didn't serve any side dishes; no salad, no roasted corn, no buttered peas. Just a few dill pickle spears and the perfect Grilled Cheese BLT. Heaven. <3 (Hey Syd? I'm thankful for the sandwich appreciation. TOTALLY worth the creep factor I had to deal with. And also, totally worth the opportunity to tell you to shove the job... well, I'll leave those colorful details out of my happy sandwich blog, but let's just say Syd knew exactly where i stood after that day. ; )

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