I’m always looking for delicious ways to stay out of the lunch rut (see my Chicken Hummus Wraps recipe here and several good picnic lunch ideas in this post here), and today I’ve got something special for you. Inspired by a delicious sandwich I had at Kerbey Lane Café here in Austin on their seasonal menu a few years ago, I’ve got the lunch sandwich of your dreams: a Pear and Bacon Panini with a Basil Aioli. While the components of this recipe are simple, together they form a masterpiece that your whole family will love. The way the crispy bacon balances out the sweet pears, and the way the aged white cheddar complements the garlicky and herby aioli sauce results in a combo you’ll want again and again. Jump to Recipe or keep reading for some step-by-step photos and tips. But first, pin this one, because, trust me – you’ll want to try this the next time you’re trying to figure out what to do for lunch.
When I am making a sandwich or salad with a homemade dressing, sauce, or spread, I always make it first before prepping the rest of the ingredients. This way the ingredients in the sauce can fully steep together for a few minutes. This aioli is simple, and just blends together the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Garlic is a key ingredient of aioli, so naturally there is a good amount of it here, along with real mayo, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest.
This stuff is soooo good. After blending it all together I let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes while cooking the bacon and slicing the pears so the flavors of the spread fully incorporate.
When ready to assemble the sandwich I spread a healthy amount of the aioli on each slice of sourdough bread.
Next I layer the bacon, pear slices, and sliced aged white cheddar cheese.
After closing the sandwich I butter both sides of the bread (butter or margarine would work for this). Optional: sprinkle a little garlic salt and parmesan cheese on the top of the sandwich to taste.
I don’t have a panini press, so I make my pressed grilled sandwiches on my trusty old George Foreman grill. You can position the sandwiches on the grill at an angle so the grill lines have a neat diagonal pattern. Just remember not to move the sandwiches once you place them so that you don’t mess up your grill lines (if that matters to you aesthetically; it won’t matter for the taste of the sandwich).
Grill it until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted to your liking. I like to cut my sandwiches in half before serving. A tip is to wait a minute or two before cutting them so that the cheese doesn’t completely ooze out.
Look at this cheesy, herby, bacon-y amazingness!! OK, I know you’re drooling at this point, so I will get on with it. Here’s the recipe! I hope you enjoy! Please pin and share if you do, and I love seeing how my recipes turn out, so feel free to tag @fabeveryday if you post on social media!
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 8 slices bacon
- 2 pears thinly sliced
- 8 oz. aged white cheddar sliced
- margerine or butter
- Blend together the mayonnaise, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a blender or food processor. Place in the fridge while preparing the rest of the ingredients so the flavors of the aioli fully incorporate.
- While the aioli is chilling, cook the bacon strips and slice the pears and cheese.
- Spread a healthy amount of the aioli on each slice of sourdough bread, then layer two pieces of bacon, some pear slices, and sliced aged white cheddar cheese on four of the pieces of bread (as you are making four sandwiches). Place the other four pieces of sourdough with aioli on top of the sandwich toppings to close the sandwich (with the aioli inside the sandwich).
- After closing the sandwich butter both sides of the bread. Optional: sprinkle a little garlic salt and parmesan cheese on the top of the sandwich to taste.
- On a panini press, a George Foreman grill, or similar grilling pan or device, press and grill the sandwich until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted to your liking. If desired, cut in half before serving.
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