a decadent fall grilled cheese with caramelized apples and shallots, crispy bacon, maple syrup, woodsy herbs, melted cheddar & gruyere cheese on sourdough bread
6 oz raw bacon
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 large apples, thinly sliced
¼ cup maple syrup
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
freshly cracked black pepper
4 oz shredded white cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded gruyere cheese
8 slices sourdough bread (about ¼” thick)
4 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the bacon in an even layer in a 12” cast-iron skillet. Roast in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a plate line with paper towels and let drain.
To the bacon fat, add the shallots over medium heat on the stovetop. Saute for 2-3 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Add the sliced apples. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until tender.
Add the maple syrup, thyme, rosemary, a good pinch of salt, and a few cracks of black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes until the syrup has reduced and the apples have caramelized. Transfer the apples to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
Combine the shredded cheddar and gruyere in a small bowl. Toss to combine. Assemble the sandwiches by laying out the slices of bread. Distribute the cheese between four of the slices. Top with the apples (reserve about ¼ cup). Cut the bacon strips in half and lay over the apples. Close with the remaining bread and press down firmly.
Heat the skillet back over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Place two of the sandwiches in the hot butter. Cook until golden brown and the cheese has melted, carefully flipping halfway through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Transfer the sandwiches out of the skillet and repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half. Season with a pinch of salt. Top with the remaining apples and any extra thyme leaves.