Thursday, November 29, 2012

Poached Pear and Tapenade Sandwiches

We are now one week past Thanksgiving. All of my leftovers have been consumed (or never will be), and I’m happy to have them gone. As much as I love the Thanksgiving meal, I don’t usually want to eat any leftovers past the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. By Sunday, I’m ready for something completely different. I want something light and fresh. This Poached Pear and Tapenade Sandwich satisfied my craving for something different.

I had a similar sandwich when I attended a meeting up in San Francisco, except the sandwich there had fresh figs in it. By the time I went to recreate the sandwich, there were no fresh figs in the market. I wasn’t going to let a missing ingredient stop me, so I substituted poached pears for the figs, and I’m glad I did. I actually liked the poached pears better than the figs.

The sandwich is the perfect combination of salty and sweet with the fresh mozzarella adding a delicious creaminess. The arugula was my addition. I added it not only for color, but also for its peppery depth.

To make this sandwich for a crowd, you can slice the baguette open and fill it up, or you can cut the baguette into slices and layer the toppings on the bread for a great appetizer.

Poached Pear and Tapenade Sandwiches
Printable Recipe
1 baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
Tapenade (recipe follows)
Poached pears (recipe follows)
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 ½ cups arugula

To assemble the sandwiches, spread a generous amount of the tapenade on the bottom half of the sliced baguette. Add the sliced mozzarella, poached pears and arugula. Place the top of the baguette over the sandwich filling and slice crosswise into single serving sized sandwiches.

Tapenade
2 cups kalamata olives, pitted
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper

In the bowl of a food processor, add the olives, thyme, garlic and process until the olives are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until smooth.

Poached Pears
adapted from epicurious.com
4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced ½ thick
1 ½ cups red wine
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon to a boil, add the pears and cook until softened, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.

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