Oct 12 2012

#SeriousSandwich: Grilled Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste, Pears, and Walnut Butter

For those who are keeping count, this is post #5 in my #SeriousSandwich series, though I’ve made at least twice as many recipes already from Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches. The combinations are irresistible and I’ve found quite a bit of inspiration in this cookbook. It’s been a happy surprise!

Grilled Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste, Pears, and Walnut Butter

There are some frustrations that come with the book, however. Like sourcing some of the ingredients. When you’re covering a wide variety of cuisines, it’s bound to happen that ingredients typically found in metropolitan areas will be harder to find in blue collar regions of the world. Case in point: Idiazábal cheese. I have never heard of this cheese before, let alone seen it. I was recently acquainted with Manchego cheese, fortunately, which is offered as an alternative. Worked for me and it’s pretty readily available, too.

Grilled Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste, Pears, and Walnut Butter

Quince paste was another puzzler. (With 2 strikes against me, you might have thought I would have given up, but I was determined to make this sandwich!) I checked 3 grocery stores in town and had no luck. A friend suggested trying a store with an excellent cheese selection. Bingo! There it was nestled in between the wedges of cheese at The Fresh Market, 25 minutes from home but, fortunately, somewhat on my way home from work.

Grilled Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste, Pears, and Walnut Butter

It was definitely worth the trouble. While I had never seen nor heard of a quince before, now I can’t imagine my life without them again. I’ve made this recipe 3 times in the last week. Yes, 3. In fact, I recommend doubling or tripling the walnut butter so you’ll have it on hand because once that’s made, the rest is a cakewalk. Just slice, assemble, and press. Then devour, of course. It’s up to you if you’ll share. Bring lots of napkins.

Grilled Manchego Cheese with Quince Paste, Pears, and Walnut Butter

Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches will be released on October 16, 2012. To be sure you’ll get a copy, you can pre-order it here.

To find out what the other cook-along bloggers think of the recipes they’re trying out, follow #SeriousSandwich on Twitter, or check out their links below:
Cover of Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone, based upon my personal experience. Morrow Cookbooks provided me with a Cookalong Kit including an advance copy of Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches. In addition, upon completion of the #SeriousSandwich cookalong, all participants will receive a small grocery reimbursement and a complete library of Emeril Cookbooks.

About the author

Carrie @ poet in the pantry

Carrie is a home baker and amateur photographer who dabbles in writing and poetry.


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  1. Tara

    I’m so glad you were able to source the quince! I wondered about this aspect of the book for people who don’t live in huge cities (like I do). I never have trouble finding things in NYC, but I grew up in southern Illinois in a town where even fresh mozzarella is hard to come by. I know that where you live isn’t quite like that, but it makes me glad that Emeril provides at least some alternative ingredients!

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      It’s easily overlooked that the things you can find in bigger cities are much harder to source in much of the country. At least there are alternatives available. If I had gotten desperate, quince paste is also available on amazon.com–where you can find just about anything! ;)

  2. Kimberly

    Oh my … this sounds so good! This one wasn’t on my “to-make” list … but it is now! Good choice!

  3. The Food Hunter

    Quince paste I have…it was the cheese that I couldn’t find. thanks for giving an alternative.

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      I don’t know how close it was to what Emeril called for, but it was offered as an alternative and I thought it blended very well with the other flavors.

  4. addie | culicurious

    yum, this looks tasty. All those delicious ingredients in one sandwich. I die! ;)

  5. Tavia

    Nice work Carrie. This was the second recipe I tabbed as wanting to make (the first was the ice cream sandwiches, of course!). Do you have to have a sandwich press to make this, or can I just use a spatula and body weight, do you think?

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      I made it in a cast iron pan on the stove, too, when I was impatient (and didn’t feel like pulling out the panini press). It works, but it’s not as thorough in melting the cheese. The pressed version was definitely better, but I wouldn’t pass it up if you don’t have one. Too good to miss!

      1. Tavia

        Thank you! I will give it a shot with some kind of jerryrigged weight. :)

  6. Ryan

    This looks amazing. I’m gonna make Mario cook this one for me.

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      Do it! :)

  7. Thien-Kim

    Kudos to you for finding all of the ingredients! I would have given up already. I think I saw quince paste (or jam) at our Trader Joe’s. But the sandwich does look really good!

    1. Carrie @ poet in the pantry

      The closest Trader Joe’s is 25 miles away…so sad! I verified again over the weekend and no, there is not a local source for quince jam. But the shop that I stopped at on my way home is a nice place to go anyway and not really out of my way, as long as I plan for it.

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