When I know certain ingredients go together—in this case, fruit and cheese—I'm always tempted to put them in a sandwich. That was the case with this recipe, made with the leftovers of an arugula salad with pears (dressed with lemon and olive oil) and a wedge of brie. Why not put it all between two slices of bread and make it all melty?
Success is all in how you build it. It's essential to layer cheese directly next to the bread on both sides; as it melts, it fuses with the bread and acts as a barrier from sogginess. Next comes pear, so it has the chance to get fully warm, and finally the arugula, which will just wilt. Might sound like a lot of talk regarding a simple sandwich, but cooking is about the little things.
Other additions that wouldn't have been unwelcome: caramelized onions, a drizzle of honey, or a slice of good ham.
- 8 slices rustic bread, such as ciabatta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces brie, cut into thin slices
- 2 large pears, cored and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 ounces baby arugula
Heat a panini machine or a ridged grill pan over medium heat. Brush the bread slices on both sides liberally with olive oil, then layer the brie on the insides of the bread. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Divide the pear slices amongst the bread, and top one side of each sandwich with arugula. Fold the sandwiches together and place in the panini machine or on top of the preheated ridged grill pan with a heavy skillet (such as cast iron, or a skillet with a can in it) on top.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the sandwich until the brie is fully melted and the bread is golden, 3-5 minutes per side. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm.