Cooper Cracker Crusted Grilled Cheese with Cauliflower and Bacon
This recipe was created by Cooper superfan Kim V. from Caldwell, New Jersey, and was a first prize winner in our 2015 Make It Yours Recipe Contest.
INGREDIENTS3 cups packed fresh cauliflower florets
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 cups (packed) red onion, sliced into very thin ribbons
1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 slices bacon, uncooked
10 sage leaves
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup butter crackers, finely crushed
1 1/4 cups Cooper Sharp White cheese, shredded
4 slices Texas toast sandwich bread (fresh, not frozen)
Prepare the cauliflower:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stand a head of cauliflower on its stem. Slice 1/2-inch rounds from the head. Cut off enough florets (no stems) for 3 packed cups. Place the florets into a bag and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, shaking to coat. Add in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt. Shake to coat. Place onto the baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, flipping the cauliflower over halfway through. When done, set aside. (This is also a good way to use leftover roasted cauliflower if you’ve got it.)
Prepare the sandwiches:
Cut a red onion in half. Slice each half into thin ribbons, enough for 1 1/2 cups. Place the onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt into a skillet. Sauté over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until the onions are soft. Be sure to stir frequently. During the last 2 minutes of cooking stir in the brown sugar. When done, set aside.
In a medium skillet, cook bacon until crispy, then remove from the skillet and drain. In the same skillet, place the sage leaves in the oil and fry for 30 seconds on each side. Drain the fried leaves on paper towels.
Slather the outer sides of the Texas toast sandwich bread with butter (reserve 2 tablespoons of butter for the pan). Gently press each buttered side into the finely crushed cracker crumbs. If you need to, add more cracker crumbs by hand, pressing them into the butter, until the surface of the outer bread is fully coated with a cracker crust.
Arrange the sandwiches in this order (repeat for second sandwich):
• 1 slice of cracker-crusted bread (cracker side down)
• 1/3 cup Cooper Sharp Cheese, shredded
• enough cauliflower florets for one single layer
• 2 slices of bacon, cut in half
• sautéed onions (evenly divided between both sandwiches)
• 5 crumbled fried sage leaves
• 1/4 cup Cooper Sharp Cheese, shredded
• second slice of cracker-crusted bread (cracker side up)
Gently press the sandwich together.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Place both sandwiches onto the skillet. Top each sandwich with the remaining butter. Cook over medium low heat. Once the bottom layer of cheese is melted and the bottom bread golden, about 4-5 minutes, gently turn the sandwich over and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the bread golden.