Bowing to the Sandwich King

I am a fairly avid watcher of the Food Network’s Food Network Star. I started about season three or four and have watched since then. I think what intrigues me the most is how someone can get on that show, beating out thousands of other applicants, and not really have a good food point of view. So many contestants cannot state their view and under pressure change it every week. It makes me think of what my view would be if I went on the show (“play with your food”) and if I would also change it (possibly).

One contestant from a recent season, Jeff Mauro, stood out in his single vision of food and his unwavering stance. To Jeff, everything was a sandwich. He called himself the Sandwich King (which is now the title of his show on Food Network). Every food challenge, if possible, he tried to make it into a sandwich. His point of view was solid.

Photo Apr 07, 11 42 32 AM

I’m not sure if this was his doing or not, but the idea for a Brussels Sprout and Grilled Cheese sandwich came from the Food Network magazine. I love Brussels Sprouts and bacon as a side dish but never would have thought to put it into a sandwich. Jeff, here’s to you for this awesome meal. I bow to the Sandwich King!

Photo Apr 07, 10 21 08 AM

The recipe called for Port Salut cheese. I looked for it. I swear. I went to two gourmet cheese stalls at my beloved West Side Market and also checked out the extensive cheese department at my local grocery, but to no avail. In a pinch I went with another French cheese, Brie. Next time, I’d go with a harder cheese than Brie as it was a pain to cut off the rind and into slices for the sandwiches. But, in my defense, the flavor profile worked well.

Photo Apr 07, 11 26 58 AM

I did get some thick sliced peppered bacon for this. These 2″ squares were just the right size.

Photo Apr 07, 11 32 24 AM

The sliced sprouts getting fried.

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All together.

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It was awesome. Go make this today!

Brussels Sprout and Bacon Grilled Cheese

Prep Time: 10 M | Cook Time: 20 M | Makes: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy


  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 ounces port-salut cheese, sliced
  • 4 thick slices country white bread
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more if needed


Cook the bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until slightly crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the pan. Increase the heat to medium high, add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the bacon, lemon zest, and pepper to taste. Wipe out the skillet.

Divide half of the cheese between half of the bread slices; top with the Brussels sprout mixture, and the remaining cheese and the other half of the bread slices.

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook, pressing occasionally with a spatula, until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side, adding more butter to the pan if needed.

TIP: Before you slice soft cheese, chill it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to firm it up.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese2, Fried, Lunch2, Pork2, Recipes, Sandwich or Wrap, snack, vegetable3

Author:The Ranting Chef

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9 Comments on “Bowing to the Sandwich King”

  1. January 15, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    I watched that season too! But then, my family will tell you I watch a LOT of food network. Cooking POV? Hmmm. “Master of Veggie Disguise”? “Overly enthusiastic home cook who probably shouldn’t be allowed in Market District without adult supervision”? Or maybe “Bacon”


  2. January 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Can you say delicious? I will definitely be trying this next time I buy brussels. Thanks for the idea.


  3. January 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Wow, I love this concept! Can’t wait to try it!


  4. January 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    That show is great!!


  5. January 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    I wish I’d been at your home when you made this – looks great!


  6. January 15, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Now that is music to my taste buds. Let the nommy party begin!


  7. alilessthenthree
    January 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    I remember watching this season of food network star! It was the last season before I moved out of my parents house! Does the sandwich king still play? I never see it on anymore.


  8. January 16, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    There is something magical about the combination of bacon and Brussels. I love the vibrant colour brussels take on when they are fried like this.


  9. January 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Our son asked me to ask you if you can reduce bacon fat for a concentrated flavor?
    Thank you so much!


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