Pickled Apple, Cheddar, and Bacon Sandwiches

Jardiniere, and macédoine, and brunoise, oh my! My first week of culinary school is complete! Someone fainted, someone vomited, and at least seven people sliced open their fingers, and that was just the first day. None of these people were me, believe it or not. So I call this week a total win for Riley! Today was especially fun because we actually got moving and cooking in the kitchen with Chef Dominique! He is our chef for the first two months of the program and he is a hoot and a half. He is super French and says things like “we wrap zee bit in zee teen full and rrrrrrroast eet at sree seventyyy five.” Translation – wrap beet in foil and roast at 375. We learned a lot of the basics this week. It all started when we each received our own tool kit with knives, spatulas, thermometers, etc. It was like Christmas morning for me. And everyone else there, for that matter. I’m with my people now. They understand me. Today we made Ratatouille (Chef Dominique says it exactly how you would imagine) and a Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Timbale with Apple & Vinaigrette.

As you can probably imagine, I’m exhausted. I never want to leave this couch. This couch is my home now. I made these Pickled Apple, Cheddar, and Bacon Sandwiches a while ago and they are amazing. And relevant, since we’ll be doing some pickling and preserving next week at school. This is my new go-to sandwich. Enjoy!

Pickled Granny Smith apples, crispy bacon, and sharp white cheddar griddled between two slices of sourdough bread

Prep time
1 hour

Cook time
10 mins

Total time
1 hour 10 mins

Serves 4


  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
  • 1½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese


1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and star anise in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Bring to a boil. Place the apples in a small bowl. Once the liquid comes to a boil, pour over the apples. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain the apple slices and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for about 6 minutes, until golden and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

3. Preheat a panini press. Place 4 bread slices on a clean work surface. Divide the cheddar cheese, bacon, and pickled apples between the bread slices and top the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices. Grill the sandwiches for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

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