Dessert or cheese plate? I often order both. Dessert, then cheese plate. This is because yes, I am gluttonous, but also because I can never quite settle on whether I want my meal to end on a sweet or a salty note.
By ordering dessert, I get my sugar fix, and the cheese array comes pulls me back into the salty, yet does leave room for adding a little more sweetness if I have another moment of uncertainty. Jams, compotes, fruits—both fresh and dried—as well as toasted nuts and sometimes a leftover heel of crusty baguette from the bread basket.
This sandwich is filled with the odds and ends you might find in a cheese plate. I opted for plump, sticky, jammy Medjool dates, crisp Asian pear slices, smoky bacon, and buttery Stilton. You can substitute the Stilton for your favorite blue cheese, the dates and pear with other dried things, like French apricots, and any varietal of pear or apple. Build your sandwich as you would your cheese plate, then griddle, and eat.
Note: Be sure to use dates that are plump and soft.
- Yield:Makes 4 sandwiches
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 8 slices thick cut bacon, coarsely chopped
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 12 Medjool dates
- 1 Asian pear, scrubbed, cored, and sliced into 20 wedges
- 8 ounces Stilton or other blue cheese
- 4 (6-inch) pieces baguette, split in half lengthwise
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Pour rendered fat into bowl; reserve.
Spread cut side of each bottom half of bread with 1 teaspoon mustard. With fingers, remove and discard pits from dates. Press 3 dates onto bread (over mustard), spreading lightly with fingertips. Divide bacon evenly among bread pieces, sprinkling over dates. Arrange 5 pear slices over bacon, then top with 2 ounces Stilton.
Press remaining 4 baguette pieces onto cheese, then, brush both sides of each sandwich with reserved bacon fat. Cook sandwiches over medium heat in now empty skillet, pressing down with spatula, until cheese begins to melt and bread is golden, about 4 minutes per side. Serve. Alternatively, press sandwiches in a panini press until toasted and heated through. Sere.