In about 20 minutes, you can have a batch of tangy-sweet Balsamic glaze that you can keep on-hand to use with everything from sandwiches and sliced tomatoes to grilled meats. A good focaccia with big, tender holes is a great choice for sandwiches with rich, melty cheese and Balsamic glaze. The crusty exterior stands up to the glaze.
Of course, you can substitute a store-bought Balsamic glaze if you’d rather not make your own.
Makes 2 Sandwiches
16 ounces good-quality Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 loaf focaccia or individual ciabatta rolls
1 ripe pears, preferably D’Anjou, red or Bosc, cored and sliced
3 to 4 ounces thinly sliced, cold Brie
Fresh thyme leaves
Optional: baby spinach leaves and chopped bacon
Stir Balsamic vinegar and sugar together in a small saucepan and add a pinch or two of kosher salt. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and stir occasionally until reduced by half, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
Cut the focaccia into 2 4-inch by 6-inch pieces, slice lengthwise and brush lightly with olive oil. Place half of the Brie on no the bottom half of each sandwich. Top with sliced pears and drizzle with Balsamic glaze to taste. If desired, add some chopped bacon and baby spinach leaves. Top with remaining Brie and bread.
Cook in a grill pan, skillet or griddle over medium heat, weighting the sandwiches down to press them slightly. (Try placing a baking sheet over the sandwiches and putting heavy cans on top.) Alternatively, cook in a panini press. Slice in half and serve with a simple salad.