BLUE CHEESE-PEAR-SPINACH GRILLED SANDWICH

Sunday lunch could have been soup, but it was such a pleasantly warm day that it seemed like overkill, and so…grilled sandwiches featuring two of my favorite (I have quite a few favorites) ingredients: blue cheese and spinach. As for the fruit, one of the most divine combinations going is pear and blue cheese. A very satisfying lunch!

Blue Cheese-Pear Grilled Sandwich

3 tbsp butter, divided

1 tsp olive oil

1 firm but ripe pear, sliced 1/4″ thick

1/4 cup white cooking wine

6 slices bread (I used swirled white-wheat)

3 oz reduced-far cream cheese

3 oz crumbled blue cheese

3/4 cup baby spinach

1) In medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in olive oil; add pear slices and saute 5 minutes, turning once; reduce heat to low and add cooking wine; cook 4-5 minutes until sauce reduces, leaving a glaze on pears; remove from heat and set aside

2) Assemble each of three sandwiches as follows: Spread 1 oz cream cheese on one slice of bread, lay one-third of pear slices on cream cheese, followed by one-third of spinach and one-third of crumbled blue cheese, top with slice of bread

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes each side until cheeses melt; serve

Servings: 3

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BLUE CHEESE PEAR WITH HONEY

When I saw the gorgeous Roquefort Pear with Honey recipe on Stephane Gabart’s My French Heaven blog, I bemoaned being the only one in our household who would dine on something so beautifully daring since, outside of Junior who’s at university, only I adore blue-veined cheeses. After all, why spend time in the kitchen for just little old me, right? Wrong. I cooked up my own slightly modified version of this taste sensation for lunch. Only one thumb up, but–my!–do I feel spoiled.

Blue-Cheese Pear with Honey

2 cups water

3 tbsp granulated white sugar

pinch of salt

1 pear (I used a small Bartlett)

2-3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (adjust amount according to how deep and wide you scoop your pear)

1 tbsp honey (I used organic Eucalyptus honey–very distinctive flavor)

1) To small pot, add water, sugar, and pinch of salt; bring to a slow boil

2) Meanwhile, cut off top of pear (I also cut off a bit of the bottom to level it so it would stand upright); scoop out center of both pieces (about 1″ deep in bottom and 1/2″ deep in top)

3) Add top and bottom pear pieces to pot and cook 15 minutes; remove from pot and let cool completely; stuff with blue cheese and chill 1 hour or more in refrigerator; place pear on a pretty plate, drizzle with honey, and serve

Servings: 1 (and it’s all mine)