Going Coastal: Grilled Cheese

Of all the comfort foods people fall back on during tough times, the grilled cheese is likely the one most people have first hand knowledge preparing.  I mean it's two pieces of bread, a slice of cheese and butter - just add heat.  Any heat really, remember that great scene from Benny & Joon where Johnny Depp makes them using an iron?  Classic.  Yeah, grilled cheese is an easy one so why should you waste your time reading a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich?  Because on the Third Coast we do things just a little bit different, like the Grilled Pimento Cheese and Crispy Bacon Sandwich.

See first it starts with the Southern classic, Pimento Cheese.  More specifically my Nacho Ordinary Pimento Cheese:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 jar pimentos, drained
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese crumbles
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, finely diced
Black pepper to taste

In a food processor combine the mayo, cream cheese, half the pimentos, shredded cheddar and half the jalapeno.  Process until smooth.  Add the pepper, remaining  pimentos, remaining jalapenos and the cheddar crumbles and pulse just until blended.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.

While the pimento cheese is chilling, take six slices of thick cut bacon and slice it into lardons then render until crunchy.  Drain thoroughly.

In a stand mixer place 1 stick of butter, softened, and a quarter cup of mayonnaise then cream together.  This mixture is better than plain butter for making grilled cheese.  Oh, and there's no extra charge for the pimento cheese recipe.  That's a little something we like to call lagniappe.  Next stop, the actual sandwiches.

Grilled Pimento Cheese And Crispy Bacon Sandwich
8 slices of white bread
1 cup pimento cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits
8 ounces finely shredded cheddar
8 tablespoons of the butter/mayo mix

Take a slice of bread and spread some pimento cheese on it then sprinkle bacon bits and top with a little shredded cheese.  Place another slice of bread on top and then coat it with the butter/mayo mix and place on a preheated griddle with the coated bread down.  While the sandwich is cooking coat the top slice of bread.  Repeat to make four sandwiches.
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