Open Face Tomato Grilled Cheese

From the Department of Comfort Food comes this fast, hearty meal-in-one.  You’ll have things in the skillet at the same time as under the broiler, so stay alert.

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves:  4 (easily scaled to the amount you want)

INGREDIENTS
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, crushed
4 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices bacon
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 thick tomato slices
1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Preheat your broiler.  Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic for one minute, or until garlic has just begun to tan.  Remove from heat.  Arrange bread on a baking tray and brush the olive oil over the slices (or use a spoon to drizzle the oil across the bread, then use the back of the spoon to spread the oil around).  Slide baking tray under the broiler (top rack) and broil for 3 minutes, or until bread is crisp and sizzling*. 

Meanwhile, while the bread is toasting, move the skillet back over heat and fry the bacon for three minutes to render most of the fat.

When bread is toasted on one side, flip the slices, top with cheese, and broil 1 minute or until cheese is melted.  At this point be sure to turn off the heat under the bacon.

Place a tomato slice on top of each toast, and top with a slice of bacon (cut in half if you like, to cover more of the surface).  Broil for a further minute, then serve, sprinkling with basil, salt and pepper.
 Variations:  Switch up the cheese.  Omit the bacon.  Top with fresh sage leaves.

*Tip:  Watch closely as broilers vary widely in heat output!  As a rule, the more sugar in your bread, the faster it will toast (and burn).  Whole wheat bread with little or no sugar will take longer to toast to whole wheat bread with sugar, which will take longer than regular white bread.

Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick

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