Honey mustard and mozzarella cheese.
When I tell people the ingredients for this sandwich, I can immediately see the thought running through their heads that I must be a crazy person.
“But wait,” I'll say. “There's bacon, too!”
A Mozzarella and Bacon Sandwich with Spinach and Honey Mustard hits a lot of delicious notes: sweet and salty, tangy and smoky, creamy and crunchy.
This recipe is based on an off-menu sandwich that I often ordered from Lindi Miller's downtown deli, which closed last year shortly ahead of the pandemic and never reopened.
Unlike some recipes where exact measurements are necessary, I sometimes think sandwich recipes are silly. Obviously, the ingredient lists will vary based on the size of your loaf of bread, how much of each ingredient you want and so forth. For example, the slices of bread I used for the pictures with this column were almost comically large, so I needed about 6 pieces of cheese. It was almost too much to eat in one sitting. Almost.
Anyway, use this recipe as more of a guide and adjust the quantities as needed. I like baby spinach, but you could do mixed greens, arugula or even bean sprouts for freshness to counterbalance the heavier cheese and bacon. That's also why I like a side of raw veggies with the sandwich.
I cook up a whole package of bacon (or two!) in the oven, let it cool and freeze it in a zip-top bag. Then it's easy to pull out just the slices I need, wrap them in a paper towel and crisp them up quickly in the microwave without a splattering mess every time I want bacon for breakfast, on a sandwich or (let's be real here) a snack.
Baking bacon is simple. I use oven-safe racks (the kind you use to cool cookies) that fit inside rimmed baking pans. Lay the bacon flat on the racks without any overlap and slide the pans into an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake until the desired crispness is reached. I like my bacon just this side of charred, so that's 30 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices.
Most of the grease will drip into the pan, which you can pour off and save in a sealed container in the refrigerator if you like to use bacon fat for other things such as frying eggs.
What are your favorite and unexpected flavor combinations? Share with me for a future story; my contact information is at the end of this column.
Mozzarella and Bacon Sandwich with Spinach and Honey Mustard
When you're grilling this sandwich, remember that you are just trying to toast the bread and warm everything a little; you aren't trying to melt the cheese. You could easily build this sandwich with toasted bread and skip the grilling portion of the recipe if you don't want to get a pan out.
Makes 1 sandwich
3 to 4 strips of bacon
2 slices of a rustic bread (nothing too soft)
1/2 cup greens such as baby spinach or arugula
2 tablespoons honey mustard, plus more for dipping
Fresh mozzarella, at or near room temperature
Cook bacon and set aside.
Starting with one slice of bread, build the sandwich by layering on spinach and drizzling honey mustard over the greens.
Slice enough 1/4-inch-thick pieces of mozzarella to cover the sandwich, pat them dry with a paper towel and place them on the sandwich in a single layer.
Add bacon and cover with the second slice of bread.
Heat a skillet, griddle or grill pan on the stove and give it a quick shot of cooking spray, if needed. Place the sandwich on the pan to bring the bread to your preferred level of golden-toasty-yumness (if that's not a technical food term, it should be). Flip and repeat on other side.
Cut the sandwich and serve with a side of extra honey mustard for dipping.
Recipe Swap is published the second Wednesday of each month. Corey McMaken is a home cook, not a food expert. To share your favorite recipe for possible inclusion, email email@example.com or write to Corey McMaken, c/o The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802; include recipe, cooking tips, full name, city of residence and a phone number so we can contact you.