THE 10 bacon + portobello mushroom + maple + cheddar

This sandwich is a perfect 10. I wouldn't say that about really hardly any other sandwiches I've made, because I try to keep the hyperboles away from self-congratulations. But this sandwich is just perfect. There is absolutely nothing that could make it taste any more brilliant. It's the perfect sandwich. Read on, and if you enjoy seeing sandwich posts, tell a friend.

So, in the spring of 2010, I stumbled on the combination of stewing bacon in maple syrup, with portobellos, onions, and sometimes mustard. And you have to stew it. I can't convey the depth, and complexity of the flavour, and the seemingly synergistic intensity of it. It's just somehow more than the sum of its parts. You MUST try it. I'm no bacon fanatic, but this shit is edible, unkosher crack. I was happily making this stewed bacon and mushroom stuff way too damn often that year.

That spring, I also started going to this dedicated sandwich joint in Toronto, Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Company. I really can't say enough about this place. It's run by this guy Chad, and his adorable family. I went in, and, as a sandwich blogger, had a natural interest in meeting this Chad. Anyway, all the sandwiches are named after Wilco songs, he makes all his own breads, and has a half dozen or so on hand, that he pairs with certain sandwiches. There's a full menu of really inventive combinations, you really should check out the creativity on offer. He also makes his own soups, his own baked goods, but the thing I loved most about going there, aside from knowing I was going to get a really thoughtfully made, top notch sandwich, was that Chad is such an ace person, and nerd for sandwiches, among other things. By my second trip, he remembered me, and chatted like I was a regular. He's the friendliest, and I would often speak to him for a whole hour, while savouring one of his creations. Picture the kind of shop owner about whom your friends, now fellow regulars, would say stuff like "I want Chad to be best man at my wedding."

We definitely nerded out about sandwiches.

Anyway, at the time, and I'm sad to notice it's off the menu, but they had this sandwich that I would order all the time, called Casino Queen, which was bacon, mushroom, avocado, and probably some honey mustard. Needless to say, it was already right up my alley. It was almost the perfect sandwich. Almost. So in making this sandwich post, I decided to bring together two forces that clearly belonged together, my signature sandwich of 2010, and my favourite Toronto eat. This sandwich gets a perfect 10.

Here's what's in it:
bread (Queen St Gluten Free Bakery white bean and milled seed from Grain, Curd & Bean)
bacon (slab bacon cut extra thick from The Hogtown Cure)
portobello mushroom
Île-aux-Grûes raw cheddar (from Grain, Curd & Bean)
maple syrup
grainy Dijon + raw creamed honey

Ok dudes, prep, and pre-cook the bacon to almost done. Keep the fat in the pan, 'cause you're going to use it later. Now spread the mayo and honey mustard. I mixed the honey and the mustard together beforehand, spread on the bread. You can also just add them to the bacon stew.

Avocado slices, and grated cheddar. The cheddar is crucial in this sandwich, and I would make sure to use something sharp, but creamy. That's why I love raw cheeses.

Ok, here's the fun part. You've already cooked the bacon so that it's a little bit crispy, but still full of fat, and juices. Now you trow it in a saucepan on medium heat, with the portobellos and onions. There should be enough fat running off the bacon to caramelize the onions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, you add the maple syrup, and anything else going in. The portobellos should be sweating, and the runoff makes a thick, sticky sauce with the bacon fat and syrup.

Now assemble the sandwich, and grill it in the pan, in the excess bacon fat. Or do it in butter, and save the bacon fat for another adventure.

The bacon fat makes the bread extra crispy.

And getting bacon thickly cut keeps it moist, and substantively chewy.

And the cheddar melts right in, and absorbs the stew juice.

I don't believe in heaven, but OH WAIT, yes, I've tasted it.


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