Pancetta-Crusted Grilled Cheese

When you need to combine a craving for the classic kid favorite with an actual adult lunch, coat your bread with butter and pancetta.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 loaf of fresh baked bread
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, picked and washed
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, picked
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices of your favorite cheese
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 12 slices of pancetta
  • Butter for brushing


  1. Heat a grill pan over high heat and season chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Prepare toast by popping bread in the freezer until slightly firm but still has a bit of give, about 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside.
  3. Grill chicken breast until golden and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove, cool, and slice.
  4. Prepare aioli by placing cilantro, mint, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, lime zest and olive oil in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add in mayonnaise and blend again until smooth.
  5. Prepare sandwiches by layering a dollop of aioli, 1 slice of cheese, a few slices of chicken, spinach leaves, another slice of cheese, and another aioli-ed piece of bread.
  6. Brush sandwiches with softened butter and press pancetta to the outside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and place 1 sandwich at a time inside, using a meat press to 'panini press' the sandwich down. Once golden and pancetta is crispy, flip sandwich and repeat.