Potato Pancake Grilled Cheese with Bacon & Spinach
Student Chef: Nicholas Troup Nicholas Troup, of Inland Northwest Culinary Academy, tied for second place in our Culinary Student Recipe Contest with this very flavorful and good-enough-for company version of the much-loved grilled cheese sandwich. Nick uses wonderfully seasoned potato pancakes instead of bread, and adds bacon, spinach and Swiss cheese to the filling. Contest judges agreed his creation was unique and satisfying. They suggest serving the sandwich with a simple salad. Nick starts from scratch, with whole Russet potatoes.
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Lift bacon out, reserving about 2 tablespoons fat in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels. Crumble and set aside. Add spinach to bacon fat in skillet and cook just until wilted. Set aside.
  3. Scrub potatoes with vegetable brush under cold running water. Grate with coarse grater. Grate onion. Press grated potato and onion between several layers of paper towels to dry. In large bowl combine potato, eggs, onion, flour, garlic, parsley, chives and salt and pepper.
  4. In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup oil. Add about 1/4 cup potato mixture for each pancake (you will be making 12 pancakes) and flatten with back of spatula or spoon to circles about 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
  5. Cook until each pancake is crisp on bottom, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook on second side until crisp and potatoes are almost cooked, about 5 minutes. Place on paper towels. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Put cooked pancakes on paper towels to absorb oil.
  6. To make sandwiches, place half the pancakes on oiled shallow baking pan. Top each with 1 slice Swiss cheese, 1/6th of the bacon, 1/6th of the spinach, 1 slice Pepperjack cheese and a pancake. Repeat.
  7. Bake sandwiches until cheese is melted and sandwiches are hot, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cut in half, if desired. Serve hot.