This is probably my favorite sandwich in all of sandwichland. I’m something of a grilled cheese fiend, and I get giddy in the fall when the pears come into season because of all the grilled cheeses that exist, this one is probably king, if not its fairly elected ruler.
The only healthy way to make a grilled cheese sandwich is the use whole grain bread and to skip the frying/griddle step in exchange for toasting. This is not how this is made. I use a crusty yet forgiving Pugliese bread which sounds rather fancy but indeed just comes from my grocery store. It’s one of the best store-bought breads I’ve had. I’ve mentioned before that the least healthy but most delicious way to fry up a grilled cheese is to use reserved bacon fat that you store in the refrigerator. Though you can try really hard at earning a gold medal in Unhealthiest Grilled Cheese by using lots and lots of butter. My friend David enlisted in the army as a cook and there he learned how to use lots of lots of butter in the making of everything, but especially, grilled cheese. He passed his wisdom down to me one night when he made a grilled cheese for me in my kitchen and rubbed the stick of butter around the hot pan until it melted and melted and melted away.
- crusty bread, sliced – I used to make the No Knead Bread all the time and this was perfect for it.
- half a pear, sliced as thinly as possible
- cheddar cheese – I’m just going to admit that I’ve used American cheese before, but I have to be in the right mood
- Dijon mustard
- apricot preserves
- bacon fat, butter, or oil for the pan
– Slice your bread and slather it with the Dijon and then the preserves. (Note 1: Take care to do it in this order because if you put the preserves on first its messier and the mustard doesn’t coat as evenly. ) (Note 2: Use any preserves you like, I personally love the shocking sweetness of apricot with the tang of the mustard and the slightly sour crunch of pear. Peach, and mango would also do it justice, but to each his own.)
– Staring with cheese, layer cheese-pear-cheese-pear-cheese, making sure you have cheese at the top and the bottom of this stack to help glue things together
– Add your fat into a preheated (mediumish) pan and wait for it to melt and coat the surface easily before adding the sandwich. I usually find that a few minutes on one side and a minute or so more on the other (extra oil added, if needed) sufficiently crisps up the bread and melts and softens the cheese. This is just a matter of watching and practicing and knowing your range. These sandwiches are small, so I have two per sitting.