- 32 thin slices of lean bacon (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 large garlic cloves, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices pumpernickel bread (1/3 inch thick)
- 1/4 pound Comte or Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces watercress, large stems discarded (4 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, cook half of the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining bacon.
- In a medium skillet, bring the water and olive oil to a simmer. Add the garlic in an even layer, cover and cook over moderate heat until the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, undisturbed, until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes longer. As the garlic colors, transfer it to a plate. Pour 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil into a medium bowl. Whisk in the mustard and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and top each slice with 4 slices of bacon. Cover the bacon with the cheese. Bake for 4 minutes, until the bacon is sizzling and the cheese is melted.
- Add the watercress and the garlic slices to the dressing in the bowl and toss well. Mound the watercress on 4 of the cheese melts and close the sandwiches; cut in half and serve.
Beer A lush, malty beer will match the earthiness of the bread and the creaminess of the cheese. Choose one with a slightly bitter edge, such as Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock from Germany or Fuller's India Pale Ale from England.