Cheryl's Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

Photo: Thomas J. Story  

This delectable sweet-savory sandwich is an homage to Cheryl Dobbins, who leads tours of Cowgirl Creamery's cheesemaking rooms in Point Reyes Station, California. The recipe is adapted from one in Cowgirl Creamery Cooks (Chronicle Books, 2013), by Cowgirl Creamy co-owners Sue Conley and Peggy Smith.

Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches (serving size: 1 sandwich)
Total:
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 30 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 765
  • Calories from fat: 58%
  • Protein: 27g
  • Fat: 50g
  • Saturated fat: 26g
  • Carbohydrate: 54g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sodium: 904mg
  • Cholesterol: 128mg

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped (1/2-in. dice) yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped (1/2-in. dice) Asian pear or firm Bosc pear
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces coarsely shredded gruyère cheese
  • 2 ounces fromage blanc
  • 4 slices ciabatta or potato bread
  • About 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Preparation

  1. 1. In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil with 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. When butter is bubbling, add onion and pear and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and well browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses. When onion-pear mixture is cool, stir into cheeses.
  3. 3. Top 2 bread slices with cheese mixture, smushing it evenly onto the bread. Spread other 2 slices with mustard and invert onto cheese.
  4. 4. Butter outsides of each sandwich with remaining 2 tbsp. butter.
  5. 5. Heat a large well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or a large, heavy nonstick pan over medium heat for a minute.
  6. 6. Place sandwiches in skillet and cook until golden-brown underneath, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it's just as toasty. Low and slow is the key. Cheese will probably ooze out, but that's okay. It gives the sandwiches a nice crunchy fringe.
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