This is a perfect sandwich. It’s a bold statement, I know. It's just that it's one of those rare eating experiences that makes you practically incapable of focusing on anything else, not even Pinterest or your yapping dog (oh hey neighbors, bet you like listening to Scarlet as much as I like listening to your raging kegs at one am!). There’s just so much going on: the crispy crust and the tender interior, the creamy and the sharp, the salty and the sweet…the sum is so much greater than the individual ingredients. Let’s discuss this more, shall we?
At the heart of things is a substantial leaf of curly kale. It’s been steamed a bit to soften the cruciferous edge, but still has a toothsome bite and a deep, earthy flavor. Next, is the honey-sweet and tender Bosc pear, apty called “the aristocrat of pears”. Creamy, smooth textured and just warmed through, it helps tame the bitter kale. A thin slice of Black Forest ham contributes a welcome smoky and savory angle.
Then there’s the cheese; the cheese that made Martha and Oprah swoon and put Seattle on the map for artisanal ingredients. To call it a cheddar is like calling Thomas Keller a cook. No, no, this deliciously nutty, rich delicacy with a slight tang is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that could elevate any ho-hum meal to completely craveable. While a small, salty crumble is perfectly delicious all by itself, it helps seal the deal on this melty, oozing panini.