Down South Grilled Cheese

Makes 4 Sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c. fine white cornmeal
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 8 slices applewood bacon
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or more if desired)
  • 8 slices French bread, cut 1/2” thick
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Great Midwest® Naturally Smoked Cheddar cheese, sliced

Instructions:

Cut 2 medium unpeeled green tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with 1 tablespoon salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile place 2/3 cup all purpose flour and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl, the 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1 beaten egg in another shallow bowl, and the 1/3 cup panko and 1/3 cup white fine cornmeal in a final bowl.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then the buttermilk/egg mixture, then the cornmeal/panko mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place bacon slices on baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and starting to crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Turn bacon slices over. Return to oven for another 5-6 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain.

Stir butter and hot sauce together. Rub one side of each slice of bread with the cut side of the clove of garlic. Turn bread over and brush with melted hot sauce butter. Place buttered side down in a medium hot skillet. Place half of the sliced cheese on the bread and top with one or two slices of fried green tomato, two slices bacon and more cheese and finally top with other bread slice. Brush the top bread slice with hot sauce butter.

Cook about two minutes or until bread is browned and flip to other side. Brown that side and place sandwich on a baking sheet in a hot oven to finish melting cheese while you make the next three sandwiches.

2013 Great Midwest® “I ♥ Grilled Cheese” recipe contest finalist - entry courtesy of Mary Leverette