There aren’t too many things that make me excited for a Monday. After the beautiful weather and fun weekend I had, the Monday morning alarm came too quickly. Especially since the only grocery store trip I made was to pick up ingredients to make brownies for my Monthly Pinterest Party. So there wasn’t much in the fridge Sunday evening when I was trying to come up with dinner.
I took a peek into my fridge and wondered, “What in the world can I eat right now??” I’m rummaging through the shelves and just when I think I’ll have to eat carrots and cheese, I came across bacon. Angels start singing. How did I not remember using bacon earlier in the week?? How did I not use all of it in one meal? Bacon hardly lasts more than one day in our house.
Working with what I have in my kitchen, I scanned the area to find good matches for my bacon. Of course, EVERYTHING goes well with bacon, so at least I was off to a good start. I had some pears which finally ripened, a bag of baby arugula and some leftover ciabatta bread from the bakery. And then there was the smoked Gouda cheese I had bought just because there are times in my life when I want cheese, crackers & wine for dinner. Looks like I had all of the ingredients to make a Bacon, Pear & Smoked Gouda Panini.
I love a good sandwich but I wanted to take this panini up a notch. Have you ever made flavored oils? I LOVE to mince up some garlic, add it to warm olive oil and let it seep for a few minutes. Brush the garlic oil all over the inside of your sandwich bread – it’s a sure way to get extra flavor depth into a super easy meal.
Easy & tasty – that’s how I like my recipes. This panini falls into that category. The bacon and smoked gouda are the savory stars of the sandwich. I like how the pear adds a sweet flavor and lightens up the meal. Arugula is a peppery green and works well with the savory & sweet elements in this sandwich. Some kind of rustic, crusty bread is required for a panini. I had ciabatta on hand, but use whatever kind of bread you like…just make sure it’s “strong” enough to keep the panini together.
I hope you guys liked my on the fly panini. I truly believe in making recipes your own. So if you don’t have pears, use apples. Or if you’re looking for a lower calorie option, dismiss the bacon and use deli turkey instead. Feel free to make substitutes to fit what you like!
So why was I looking forward to Monday?? Because I’m totally making this sandwich again for lunch…and maybe even dinner.
- (Makes 2 hearty sandwiches)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 slices of your favorite artisan bread, such as ciabatta
- 8 slices of bacon, cooked
- 1 pear, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shredded smoked gouda
- ½ cup baby arugula
- To make Garlic Oil – In a small sauce pan, add olive oil & garlic. Bring it up to a boil and remove from heat. Let the garlic sit for 10 minutes. The garlic can be strained or just leave it. It’s up to you!
- On the ciabatta bread, spread the garlic oil on both sides. Start to layer the sandwich by adding bacon, pear slices, smoked gouda and baby arugula. Top with the other piece of bread and place in a preheated skillet or grill pan. (Or a panini machine if you have one!) I put my cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich so it would press the sandwich.
- On a medium-low heat, cook the sandwich until cheese is fully melted; 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately while cheese is still warm.