Anne Burrell's Taleggio Grilled Cheese

Chef Anne Burrell, host of the Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, hasn't found much "comfort" in restaurant comfort food, especially when it comes to grilled cheese. So she decided to reimagine the classic to her own taste. What she came up with is this recipe for upscale, gourmet grilled cheese: Taleggio cheese, crisp apples, smoky bacon, spicy Dijon, and crunchy bread. That's her idea of comfort food. But she wants you to use this recipe as a starting point. Make it your own with additions like artisan mayo or crunchy kale. Let the party begin.   

1 1/4 lb Taleggio cheese
12 slices Bacon
8 slices Rye bread
8 tbsp (1 stick) Unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 Honey Crisp apple (peeled and sliced really thin on a Mandoline)

Toss the Taleggio in the freezer for 20 minutes to get it really nice and firm (don't forget about it!). Remove the orange rind and cut the cheese into slices about 1/4 inch thick.

While the cheese is in the freezer, cook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat until brown and crispy on both sides. When the bacon is done, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve.

Spread each piece of bread with a thin, even layer of butter. Spread the other side of each piece of bread with Dijon. Lay the bread down on a baking sheet with the Dijon side facing up. It will be a bit messy. This is what happens with grilled cheese! The mess is worth it.

Place an even layer of Taleggio on each piece of bread. Lay 3 bacon slices each on 4 pieces of the Taleggio-lined bread. Top the bacon with an even layer of apple slices (these are the bottoms, the ones with just cheese are the tops--together they make a pair!).

Preheat a griddle or nonstick sauté pan to medium. You will most likely have to work in batches, so also preheat the oven to 200°F to keep the finished sandwiches warm. place pairs of tops and bottoms (not yet sandwiched together) on the griddle or in the nonstick pan and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until the buttered side gets brown and crusty and the cheese begins to melt.. When the cheese is nice and melty, flip the top onto the bottom so the cheese is on the inside. Give each sandwich a press, flip it over, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Keep the finished sandwiches in the oven and repeat the process with the remaining tops and bottoms.

Cut the sandwiches in half on the bias and serve hot. Enjoy!

Recipe from Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower.