Growing up in Knoxville, Tres was destined to be a Tennessee fan. He received his Undergrad and MBA degrees from there, and hasn’t stopped rooting for them since! When we started dating, I had no choice but to jump on the Vols bandwagon. We try to attend at least one game a year together, but if we aren’t in Knoxville, you can find us surrounded by friends at home watching the game. Usually it’s everyone in front of the TV and me cooking… exactly how I like it! I love little bite size snacks that go good with cold beers, and this smoky grilled cheese is such a winner!
Grocery list (10 mini sandwiches):
10 slices of pancetta (Italian style bacon)
3 oz cream cheese – room temperature
4 oz smoked cheddar cheese – freshly grated
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese – freshly grated
2 oz pimentos – drained and chopped small
2 tsp pickle relish
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tap smoked paprika
1/8 tap cayenne
3 tbsp mayonnaise – plus extra if needed
20 slices of white bread
Butter – room temperature
1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, fry the pancetta until extra crispy and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer and a bowl, add the cream cheese, smoked cheddar, Monterey Jack, pimentos, pickle relish, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and a dash of kosher salt. Beat together on low until the mixture starts to come together. Then increase the speed to high and slowly add the mayo until it is the consistency you desire.
3. Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high. Using large biscuit cutters, cut out one round from each slice of bread. Build the sandwiches by adding a large spoonful of the pimento cheese mixture to 10 slices of the cut out bread. Top each with one slice of pancetta then close the sandwiches with the remaining 10 pieces of cut out bread.
4. Butter each side of the sandwiches and put into the sauté pan. Lightly smash the sandwiches down with a spatula as they cook. Flip after about 2-3 minutes or when the bread is light brown, toasty, and the cheese starts to melt. Cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Put on a platter and serve!
Cheers to happy eating!!!