Tangy, peppery, salty, sweet, and crunchy. This Pear, Smoked Ham, and Arugula Open Faced Sandwich has everything that your taste buds want in one perfect bite!
I am a cold weather loving kind of gal! And while many think that hot cups of cocoa and cookies are synonymous with winter, I enjoy the perfect ripeness of pears this time of the year best. I know, that sounds odd, but pears are at their best right now! In my opinion, in the foodie world, there is little else more delicious than a perfectly ripe, somewhat firm, somewhat soft, juicy Bartlett pear.
Pears are incredibly versatile. They are perfect to eat straight up fresh, canned, folded into quick breads, muffins, and upside-down cakes. I regularly add them to fresh salads and grain side dishes. Add them to homemade applesauce, as a topping to waffles, or as part of a grilled cheese sandwich.
USA Pears Blogger Challenge
Since I am so fond of pears, I jumped at the opportunity to join in on the USA Pears Blogger Recipe Challenge. The challenge? Create a tasty recipe that features fresh pears. I had so many ideas running through my head, but I knew that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to create something that would be worthy to include on a holiday menu, specifically as an appetizer. My thoughts instantly went to sandwiches. I love the fact that the recipe below is an open-faced sandwich. It can be served whole, cut in half, or even into quarters to serve to your guests.
This recipe is easy to make, comes together in a snap, won’t break the bank, and is full of flavor. Everyone will enjoy it whether they are gluten free or not!
The “Pear”fect Holiday Appetizer
I like mixing many different textures and flavors into one bite. This sandwich features sweet, peppery, tangy, salty, and smoky flavors. Here’s the breakdown:
- Lightly toasted gluten free bread
- A cream cheese spread with fresh rosemary and buttery.brown sugar pan dripping from my pan-roasted pears (coming up soon).
- Peppery baby arugula
- Smoky ham
- Pear slices, pan roasted with butter and brown sugar
- Crushed roasted, salted almonds
- Dried, sweetened cranberries
Be sure to check out the USA Pears website and follow them on your social media channels @usapears
Pear, Smoked Ham, and Arugula Open-Faced Sandwich
Pan Roasted Pears
- 1 fresh pear (I used red d'anjou) Opt for a ripe but somewhat firm pear
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
Cream Cheese Spread
- 3 ounces cream cheese (block variety - not whipped) keep at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to use
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon pan drippings from the pan roasted pears
- 4 slices gluten free sandwich bread (I used Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White)
- 4 slices smoked or Black Forest Virginia Ham Be sure to read the label to check for gluten - all brands are different.
- 1 cup packed, baby arugula leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried, sweetened cranberries
- 10 roasted, salted almonds, crushed
- Wash one pear of your choosing. Bartlett and D'Anjou pears work best. The pear should be ripe but still firm. Soft pears will not be ideal for this recipe.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, stir in the light brown sugar until mixed.
- Stand the pear upright and cut 4 center slices (lengthwise), each about 1/4" in thickness). Gently pry away and discard any seeds.
- Place the 4 pear slices into the pan with the butter and sugar. Saute over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Pears will be fork tender when done, still holding their shape, and not mushy or falling apart. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Place the cream cheese and the chopped rosemary into a small bowl. Take 1 tablespoon of the butter and sugar liquid from the saute pan. Add it to the cream cheese. Using a fork, mash and stir together until smooth.
- Lightly toast the 4 slices of gluten free bread. Place onto a flat work surface.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the 4 slices of toast.
- Evenly distribute the arugula leaves over each slice.
- Take 4 slices of ham and fold them in half. Slices of ham vary greatly in size. Adjust as needed. Place a folded piece of ham over the arugula.
- Using a spatula, transfer one pan roasted pear to the top of each sandwich.
- Place the almonds onto a hard surface. Place the blade of a heavy knife over the almonds. With the palm of your hand, press down on the flat side of the blade (away from the edge). Apply enough pressure to crush the almonds. You may opt to crush 2-3 almonds at a time. Be sure to use roasted, salted almond (they will crush with greater ease).
- Sprinkle the crush almonds evenly over the pears. Add 3-4 dried cranberries on top and serve.