Grilled Cheese with Pears and Caramelized Onions

My dad is the sandwich master – especially on the weekends. Even my kids know. Zaydie is who you turn to when you want any multitude of sandwiches. After a few weeks with my parents, my daughter came home asking me to make lunch like Zaydie did. “Zaydie likes it this way.” “Zaydie makes this differently,” and so on. Egg salad is never just chopped eggs with Zaydie. It’s amped up with herbs and pickles or olives. Same with grilled cheese. There was always something added to it. I remember a period of time when grilled cheese was often filled with cheddar, tomato and sunflower seeds.

So…tonight’s dinner is dedicated to my dad. As I drove home, debating what to make. I thought of the bag of fresh cheeses I had just bought at the store. With Shavuot coming up, I had to stock up. I wanted something fast and something tasty. I decided to make this. Not sure if I have upped the ante on my dad’s sandwich skills, but hopefully, I have come close to reaching his sandwich awesomeness.

Grilled Cheese with Pears and Caramelized Onions (makes 2 good sized sandwiches)

1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. thyme
4 slices of bread ( I used rye, but a ciabatta or a sourdough would be great with this)
dijon mustard
gouda cheese, sliced
1 ripe bosc pear
more butter, for grilling

Start by heating up a small saute pan. Add butter to the pan. Get it hot. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook the onions slowly. Add the salt and the thyme. Let the onions caramelize.  This will take around ten minutes or so. Stir every so often. Once the onions are done, set aside.


Slice up your pear in to thin slices. About 1/4-inch thick.


Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on the inside of two of the slices of bread. Make sure not too put too much mustard on, or it will overpower the other flavors. Add a slice of cheese; then a pear layer; then the caramelized onions and finally another slice of cheese. Sandwich it together with an a slice of the bread that doesn’t have any mustard. You are now ready for some grilling!

This sandwich would do really well in a panini press. Alas, that is the one kitchen appliance that I don’t have.

In a large pan, heat up a tablespoon of butter. Place sandwich in to pan. Pan should be on medium-high heat.

Take a large cast iron pan or some other heavy heatproof object and press it down on your sandwich.

Grill for a few minutes on each side.

Slice in half and eat up! Serve with some salad on the side.



About Hindy Garfinkel
1 2