Fall makes me think of pears, and pears make me think of that oft-seen salad in which the fruit is paired with walnuts and chunks of blue cheese over lettuce.
Its popular in restaurants for a reason. The sweet and juicy pears play off the salty rich cheese, while the walnuts add texture and their nutty rich flavor.
But what if the pears and cheese go into a grilled sandwich? And what if the sandwich uses Asian pears, for their crisp flesh and floral notes?
WHISK 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a small bowl. Spoon half the vinaigrette over the radicchio and fennel in a bowl; toss. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss again; add more dressing, if needed. Top with the walnut pieces.
SPREAD the blue cheese over one side of 2 slices of bread, gently mushing into the bread so cheese doesn’t fall off while cooking. Layer the pear slices on top. Spread pepper jelly over one side of the other 2 slices of bread. Sandwich the pepper jelly slices over the pear and cheese slices. Spread the tops and bottoms of the sandwiches with a little olive oil.
HEAT 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sandwiches; cook, turning once, until golden brown and the cheese melts. Serve with the slaw alongside.
Note: Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.Yield: 2 servings