Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Red Onion Sandwiches with Arugula-Thyme Spread

Summary: Y'all, sometimes I just want a really, really good sandwich, one that rises above the standard turkey or tuna. I want every element to be flavorful and well-considered, and I definitely want the sum to be more than the parts. If juices run down my hands and arms, that's great. If I use three napkins before finishing the sandwich, that's great too. 

A sandwich, almost more than any other food compilation, wants regular juxtapositions like salty and sweet, soft and firm. 

This is my chilly rainy-day sandwich: It comforts, fills, and often, I eat two. 

You can easily double or triple this recipe because you will have leftover caramelized onions (which are so good in so many ways)

*This recipe was chosen as a Community Pick on Food52.

Yield: 2 sandwiches


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small-medium red onion, peeled, cut in half, and cut into half-moon slivers
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon good Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices bacon; I like thick-cut
  • 1/2 a Granny Smith apple; cored and sliced very thinly; a mandoline is perfect for this
  • 2 thick slices applewood-smoked mozzarella or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt


In a 10- or 12-inch skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the slivered onions and crushed red pepper and stir to combine everything well. Let the onions cook for 10 minutes, stirring only occasionally. When they're soft and becoming translucent, add the balsamic vinegar. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes. You want the onions to be very soft and flavorful, and for some to have started to crisp slightly.

In the meantime, fry your bacon and then set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

In a food processor, blitz together the mayo, arugula, and thyme. Season with salt to taste. If you feel you want it a bit looser, add some of your bacon drippings. Yum.

Toast the bread. Spread two slices with a thin layer of Dijon mustard and the other two slices with the arugula-thyme mayo. Add one slice of cheese, 6 to 8 slivers of apple, and a generous spoon of caramelized onions to each sandwich. Close them up and dig in!