Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grilled Cheese Month: Grilled Brie & Pear

I can't go on enough about how much I love ooey gooey melty cheese and soft bread with a hard crust that has been grilled to golden brown in butter.  Seriously if it wasn't wildly unhealthy I'd eat it three times a day.  Lucky for me, but not my waistline, this month (also known as Grilled Cheese Month) gives me an excuse to eat grilled cheese more than I normally would.  While brainstorming ideas for different takes on this wonderful sandwich the Boy helped out with the core idea of this one¸ by suggesting pears and brie.  I took those ingredients and expanded on it with fresh baked artisan bread, thinly sliced red onion, peppery arugula and fresh cracked black pepper.

Can you use grocery store mass made bread for this? Of course. Do I recommend it? Absolutely not. The master recipe for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is so ridiculously easy that you really have little excuse not to make a loaf.  If that just isn't in the card for you, or you don't have the book (to which I say buy it right now) a loaf of French or Italian bread from your local bakery or even grocery store bakery will do.  When it comes to bread, always go for fresh made even if it's not from you own kitchen, it makes everything exponentially better.

Grilled Brie & Pear Sandwich
makes 2 sandwiches
printable recipe

4 slices of crusty white bread
3 oz of triple cream brie - sliced
1/2 bartlett pear - thinly sliced
red onion - thinly sliced
baby arugula - small handful
fresh cracked black pepper
butter - at room temperature

1. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat. Butter 1 side of two slices of bread, place butter side down in the heated skillet.
2.  Layer half of the brie onto the bread in the skillet. Top with a single layer of pear slices, some of the red onion and good layer of baby arugula.  Top with some fresh cracked black pepper and finish off with the rest of the brie.
3.  Butter 1 side of the remaining 2 slices of bread and place atop each sandwich.  This whole process should only take a few minutes, but the sandwich will be grilling as you assemble.  Let continue to grill for about five minutes over medium low heat.
4.  Once the first side is golden brown carefully flip the sandwiches with a spatula and with some help from your hands. Press down on the sandwiches with the back side of the spatula and let grill for another five to seven minutes, until golden brown.
5.  Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting in half an serving.

I can't stress enough the importance of letting a grilled cheese rest before cutting.  Much like with meat how you want to let the juices redistribute so they don't gush out when you cut into a steak leaving you with a dry slab of meat.  A fresh from the grill grilled cheeses, especially one made with a cheese as soft as brie, needs a few minutes or else you'll lose all of your cheese on to your cutting board, leaving you with a cheeseless sammie.  An who wants that, when the whole point of it is the cheese.  With this one I found it impossibly heard to wait to cut into and gobble it up.  Taking photos dragged the gobbling out even further.  Luckily I got a few good one's, though I wouldn't have minded giving this puppy another go.

With the richness of the melting brie a simple green salad with a light dressing of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil is the perfect foil.  I absolutely ate a salad and not both sandwiches. Really. I promise.


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