Chef’s Corner – John Locke’s Grilled Cheese with Bacon-Onion Jam

John Locke's grilled cheese sandwhich recipe, with bacon-onion jam

John Locke's grilled cheese sandwhich recipe, with bacon-onion jam


  • ¾ pound slab bacon, diced into cubes
  • 4 medium-size white or Spanish onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 2-3 glugs of nice sherry (Amontillado, if you have it)
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a Dutch oven / heavy pot over medium for 3-4 minutes, then add the cubes of bacon. Stirring regularly, cook until the fat is completely rendered and the bacon has started to crisp, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pot, and add the onions, mustard seed, brown sugar, vinegar, sherry and 3 tablespoons of water. Deglaze the pan and coat the ‘Banion’ mixture well, then tightly cover the pot, lower the heat and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, stir the mixture again and partly cover the pot, cooking the mixture for another hour or until most of the liquid is gone and a dark brown jamminess is achieved. (Add a few Tbsp of water as needed.)
  4. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove from heat, and cool slightly before removing into a jar or bowl to rest in the fridge until ready for use. If well sealed, will easily keep for a week in the refrigerator.


  • One loaf of Levain bread, sliced into uniform thicknesses
  • 1/3 pound of each cheese shown below, grated and combined well.
    • Swiss Gruyère
    • Point Reyes Toma (a semi-hard, Dutch-style cow’s milk cheese)
    • Aged Irish Cheddar
  • Butter (or mayo)
  • Bacon-Onion Jam (recipe, above)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Butter one side of two slices of bread. (our resident chef prefers the tang imparted by using mayo in place of butter – your choice!)
  2. On the buttered side, lightly sprinkle some of the combined grated cheese to cover as thinly as possible on what will be the “outside” of your sandwich.  Press the grated cheese firmly yet gently into the bread and turn over the slices.
  3. Combine a fair handful of the grated cheese with a couple/few tablespoons of the bacon-onion jam.  (recipe, above).  Spread the deliciousness on the interior side of one of the slices of bread.  Liberally apply some freshly ground black pepper and cover with the other slice.
  4. When the temp of your griddle reaches 285 F grill one side until golden brown, then flip and repeat!

Pairs beautifully with lightly dressed salad greens. Or for the traditionalist, tomato soup!

Wine Pairing Suggestion

This dish pairs well with the richer nature of a Rhone white wine, lightly oaked Chardonnay, richer style Champagne (extended lees or bottle age), light reds such as Valpolicella or those of the Veneto or Alto Adige.

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