Author Notes: Pickled Granny Smith apples, crispy bacon, and sharp white cheddar griddled between two slices of sourdough bread. —Riley Wofford
cup red wine vinegar
tablespoons kosher salt
star anise pod
Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
slices thick-cut bacon
(1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.