Posted by Elise on Sep 9, 2006
A few months ago I had the pleasure of accompanying Amy of Cooking with Amy and Brett of In Praise of Sardines for a light bite to eat at the Arlequin deli in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. Amy highly recommended the grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and pear, and it was, true to Amy's suggestion, fabulous. The sweet pear worked beautifully with the bacon and sharp cheddar. A great combination. Bartlett pears are just now finally making a show at the markets and I made these sandwiches for the family this week. We also tried them with ham, in place of the bacon. The bacon won. There is a debate here as to whether gruyere would do well in place of the cheddar. "No, no, no, it would overwhelm the pear." We haven't tried that combo yet, but if you do, please let us know how it goes.
French or Italian loaf bread, sliced
Bartlett pear slices
Sharp white cheddar cheese (high quality), slices
Butter, softened and spreadable
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat.
Layer your sandwich - bread slice, cheese, pear slices, bacon, bread slice.
Spread butter over the top of the sandwich.
Place the sandwich top side down (butter side down) on the hot pan.
Butter the exposed side of the sandwich.
Let cook for a minute and then use a metal spatula to turn the sandwich over to its other side.
While you are toasting the sandwich on the remaining side, press down on the sandwich with a spatula.
Alternatively, you can mimic a panini press (albeit without the ridges) by heating a smaller cast iron pan on a separate burner.
Use the weight of this pan to press down on the sandwich from above.
The sandwich is done when the sides are toasted and the cheese is melted.
Cut in half and serve.