Brie and pear grilled cheese sandwiches

A delicious twist on an old favourite. .

A stock lunch favourite of beloved granddaughter Erin is a grilled cheese sandwich. I discovered this during our 2012 visit to the family in Utah, and shortly after our return, I wrote a recipe for my gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

Dear daughter Robyn went one better during this visit. As I sit writing this recipe on the final leg of our return journey – the nine hour flight from Dubai – I do so wish the snack I’ve just eaten, was her sumptuous brie and pear grilled cheese sandwich.

The cherry on top of this experience,
was discovering a sourdough bread made the long way (like my recent three-part sourdough series), but using only unbleached stoneground flour, not the whole wheat variety.

The result is a really lovely bread – lighter in colour and texture, and with much greater loft – that I can eat without fear of digestive tract agony.

A detailed conversation with the baker at the Station Park, Farmington store where Robyn shops, gave me sufficent insight into his process to confirm that it is a genuine sourdough loaf using no commercial yeast.

If you’ve baked my sourdough bread, readers can expect an update soon, replacing the whole grain wheat and rye flours with unbleached stoneground flour, once I’ve figured out how to adjust the quantity of water to use with branless flour.

The ideal sourdough loaf for these sandwiches is large and round. Cut the loaf in half then cut two slices from each half, to make generously sized sandwiches (the recipe scales easily for three, four or more).

Ingredients

4 slices sourdough bread

2-3 tbsp butter

120g brie cheese: sliced

juice of one lemon

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 ripe pear: washed, cored and sliced thin. Toss in juice of one lemon quarter to prevent browning.

2 stalks fresh sage: rinsed and leaves picked

150g Brussels sprouts: rinsed, stem ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

60g rocket

2tbsp hazel nuts: roughly chopped

1 tbsp honey

salt and pepper: for seasoning

Method

Divide the cheese, pear and sage in half, and arrange on two slices of the sourdough bread. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover each with another slice of sourdough bread. Butter the top side liberally. Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the Brussels sprouts, rocket and hazel nuts in a salad bowl and toss together.

Heat a large frying pan medium hot, melt a tbsp of butter, and place the two sandwiches butter side down in the pan.

Butter the up side liberally.

Fry for three minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Carefully flip the sandwiches and fry for three minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Cut the sandwiches in half, dress the salad and divide it between two plates.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 25 minutes

Yield: two sandwiches