Grilled Cheese With Taleggio, Bacon, and Pears

05bGrCheesebfLOWe were poking around a book store, killing time before catching the latest blockbuster, and I came across a cook book in the bargain section; “Own You Kitchen” by Anne Burrell. I have another of her books, so was happy to leaf through this newer effort when I came across a recipe for this pretty incredible looking grilled cheese sammich with Taleggio cheese, bacon, sliced apple, and Dijon mustard on rye bread.

Of course, I bought the book, but made a few wee, tiny changes to my sammiches.

•1-1/4 lb Taleggio cheese*
•Cooked bacon
•1 or 2 red pears, cored and sliced
•Unsalted butter, softened
•6 slices pumpernickel bread

01bBaconbfLO*Taleggio was surprisingly hard to come by in my local markets, and I could only manage to find about 1/2 lb total. I stretched it out by adding sliced Fontina cheese. If you can find Taleggio, just remember to remove the rosy-orange rind before using the cheese. If you cannot find Taleggio, Fontina makes a nice substitute.

02dChPearBaconbfLONote: Chef Burrell made four sammiches on rye bread; my bakery pumpernickel loaf was rather large, so I made three sammiches; which were totally delicious; but also really, really rich. Three of these sammiches will more than likely feed four or five folk.

Arrange your bread slices on a flat baking pan – Chef Burrell points out that this is a messy process, but the mess is worth it – and apply butter to the slices.

Flip the bread over on the baking pan (yes, those messy buttered sides will be on the baking pan, get over it) and apply the mayonnaise to the unbuttered sides.

03bWeighDownbfLONote: I used mayonnaise in place of Chef Burrell’s recommended Dijon, but Rich thought a bit of mustard might could’ve been a good thing. You do what you want.

Top three of the slices with the sliced Taleggio cheese, sliced pear, bacon, and, finally, the remaining Taleggio cheese –  here’s where I used Fontina.

05aGrCheesePicklebfLOTop with the remaining three bread slices – mayonnaise side down, and add the sammiches to a large pan heated to medium.

My pan really is kinda huge – a 12 inch chef’s pan – so I could fit all three sammiches in one go. If you have a smaller pan, make yours in batches, and keep the finished grilled cheese warm in a 200º oven until they are all ready.

Cook the sammiches for five to seven minutes, until the cheese on the bottom is nicely melted, then flip ’em over and cook for another five to seven minutes, so you have a uniform level of ooey gooey melted cheese goodness.

Serve. Might I suggest adding a couple of sliced Pilsner Pickles? Pretty spectacular.

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