I’m never sure how to introduce these recipes and I often don’t have loads of spare time to put any organized thoughts into the writing. Just as the inception of this dish, like so much of what we eat, was the result of wanting to do very little thinking and use very little time. We’ve entered into summer and it’s too hot to plan laborious meals. One thing we teach in Cooking Matters courses to both family and kids is that one way to expand your cooking confidence, save money and expand you and your children’s palates is to relax a little on following recipes and meal plans. Really utilize what’s in your kitchen and if you don’t have all the ingredients for a recipe you want to make, see if there are some substitutions you can try or some things you can nix all together. I’ve always thought it’d be a fun little activity to visit various people’s kitchens who claim there is nothing to cook and see what we can concoct together. Yes, I really do think that’d be fun, I am who I am!
I had been craving the pizza version of this, yet didn’t want to deal with baking the dough, so open-faced sandwiches were born. In our old house, we would have all melted away with the heat that the oven puts off. There was some sourdough bread in the freezer. With a little makeshift leek and pear mustard of sorts, rolled up prosciutto and flecks of fresh thyme… yes, this would be an acceptable dinner. Grace will eat anything if bread is involved, a carbivore like her mother. There were some boiled potatoes and eggs in the fridge that, combined and dressed up a bit, made for a hearty side of potato salad. Voila. Dinner is served in no time at all.
So two takeaways I hope this recipe inspires: Don’t feel as if you always need a recipe to reference or a meal plan to follow in order to cook something new. If you have no idea what to cook for dinner, look to your kitchen, your pantry, your freezer and see what has been sitting there, needing to be consumed. Maybe it can all go together like this meal did, a result of random leftovers. Secondly, even something as simple and easy as sandwiches can pose opportunity to introduce new flavors and textures to kids (and even adults!). Kids can enjoy sandwiches outside of turkey and cheese. Variety is key. Alright, maybe I did have something to say about this recipe after all. Read on for the details and a “few” related notes. Enjoy!
Open-faced leek, pear and goat cheese sandwiches with prosciutto:
- 5 slices sourdough or favorite sandwich bread, toasted
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 leeks white and light green parts only, chopped and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- 1 pear, loosely chopped
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Herb or plain goat cheese for spreading
- Sliced prosciutto
- A few sprigs thyme (optional)
- On medium heat, melt butter and add leeks. Cook for a few minutes until they’re beginning to turn translucent and soft.
- Add sugar, then the pear. Raise heat and cook until mixture is soft, mash-able and light golden brown.
- Add mustard and vinegar, stir and let bubble for few minutes until liquid has cooked off.
- Set aside to cool.
- Lay your bread out. Spread a bit of goat cheese on each slice, then the pear/leek mixture, then top each with prosciutto and a few flecks of fresh thyme.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Steamed pears + leeks, blended up are a great and favorite puree for babies.
- The leek and pear “mustard” could be made up to a few days before and stored in the fridge. Then, when you go to make dinner, there really is nothing to do but the assembly!
- These could easily be served with bread on top in to-go form for a lunch option. Just flatten out the prosciutto and add a bit more of all the ingredients, then top with an additional slice of bread.
- Don’t have pear? Sub apple. Don’t have leeks? Use a sweet onion. Don’t have any of these items? Just use a big dollop of jelly or jam.
- Save the smaller end pieces for any toddlers in the house.
- Eating note: Toddlers need a little help sometimes handling tough or toasted bread. Take the time to tell them to bite all the way down, pull the sandwich away, set it down and chew.
- We served these with a potato, asparagus, pea, boiled egg salad which was a huge hit. I literally just tossed all the later ingredients in a bowl with a squirt of Dijon mustard, olive oil, dried dill and salt and pepper. There was no time to write down the recipe but I imagine it would be hard to mess up!