Sunday, June 26, 2011

Poached Pear Panini

If any of y'all ever decide to come to visit Savannah, don't ever hesitate to message me about places to go and eat at. One of our favorite nice restaurants to go to is Garibaldi's Cafe. They are known for their crispy flounder with a shallot-apricot sauce, but surprisingly my favorite dish is a small salad. The salad has wine-poached pears, blue cheese fritters, spicy arugula, and a balsamic-wine vinaigrette. I actually crave this salad, it's that good. It's so sweet from the pears, but salty & tangy from the blue cheese. So, since I can't have their salad, I decided to make a Poached Pear Panini. I started off by poaching the pears in a vanilla white wine syrup. I then made a sandwich with the sliced poached pears, arugula pesto mayo, crispy prosciutto, crumbled gorgonzola & creamy havarti, and a light drizzle of honey. I know it sounds super weird, but it really does work. I was surprised how much Clayton liked this panini. I wasn't hungry enough to make a full sandwich, so I just made a small crostini, and that was plenty! Enjoy!
Whole Poached Pear Panini
Spicy Arugula Pesto Mayo, Sweet Poached Pears, Crispy Prosciutto, & Creamy Gorgonzola
Weird, But Delicious Poached Pear Panini
For the Poached Pears:
2 Firm, Ripe Bosc Pears, Peeled & Halved & Cored
2T Lemon Juice
1C Water
½C Dry White Wine
6T Honey
½ Vanilla Bean, Split Lengthwise

For the Arugula-Walnut Pesto:
2C Arugula Leaves, Packed
½C Shelled Walnuts, Toasted
½C Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Grated
½C Olive Oil
6 Garlic Cloves, Lightly Roasted
1t Fresh Garlic, Minced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste  
For the Arugula-Pesto Mayo:
¼C Pesto
4T Mayo
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Panini:
2 Slices of French Bread, Fried in Olive Oil
1 Poached Pear, Sliced
Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
Arugula Pesto Mayo
2 Slices of Havarti Cheese
8 Slices of Prosciutto, Fried till Crispy
Drizzle of Honey

1. To Make the Poached Pears: Toss the pears with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine water, wine, and honey in a medium saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and add in the bean as well. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add in the pears. Cover the mixture with a round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning halfway through cooking, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached pears to a large bowl. Boil the poaching liquid until reduced to ¾C, about 2 minutes. Cool the syrup. Pour the syrup over the pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove the vanilla bean and strain the pears out of the liquid. Carefully pat dry and cut into thin slices. Set aside.
2. To Make the Arugula Pesto: Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels in a skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in place, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins. Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown. In a food processor, combine the arugula, salt, walnuts, roasted garlic, and raw garlic. Pulse while drizzling in the olive oil. Remove the mixture from the processor and put into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate.
3. To Make the Arugula-Pesto Mayo: In a small bowl, combine the fresh pesto with the mayo. Add in salt & pepper to taste. Whisk to combine. Set-aside until ready to make the sandwich.
4. To Make the Sandwich: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with tin foil and spray with Pam. Set this aside. Fry the slices of bread in olive oil. Then assemble the sandwich by spreading a layer of the arugula pesto mayo on each slice, and then lay a slice of havarti cheese on top of each slice. On one of the slices lay down the crispy prosciutto, then top with crumbled Gorgonzola and drizzle some honey on top, and the poached pears. Top with the other slice of bread & cheese. Place the sandwich on the prepared pan and bake in the oven in order to heat the fillings and melt the cheese. Cook for roughly 5 minutes (depending on your oven). 
5. Serve the sandwich and enjoy!

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