For this sandwich, we took some flavor notes from our favorite Korean condiment, kimchi, and made pickled Asian pears. Every crunchy bite has subtle heat from gochugaru (Korean chile pepper), and it's all layered with creamy aioli, crispy bacon and bitter Treviso radicchio (although not technically a lettuce, the leafy chicory serves the same purpose).
The homemade garlic aioli really brings the sandwich together, but the next best option is to doctor up store-bought mayonnaise with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of finely grated garlic.
To learn more, read "Grow a Pear."
Bacon, Lettuce and Pear Sandwich (The BLP)
Recipe adapted from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and chilling time
For the Pickled Pears:
1 large Asian pear, quartered and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1 cup water
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Korean gochugaru, or crushed red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
For The BLP:
4 slices uncooked bacon
¼ head Treviso radicchio, stem cut and leaves separated
3 tablespoons aioli
4 slices pumpernickel bread, toasted
Handful frisée (optional)
1. Make the pickled pears: Place the pear slices in a 1-quart glass jar. In a small saucepan, stir together the water, vinegar, sugar, gochugaru, salt and ginger, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, 3 minutes. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the pears and let cool to room temperature, 30 minutes. Cover and chill until crunchy, at least 1 hour. Make ahead: The pickled pears can be refrigerated up to 1 week.
2. Make The BLP: In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
3. Return the sauté pan to high heat. Add the radicchio and cook until the edges start to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the plate with the bacon.
4. To make the sandwiches, spread a layer of aioli on each piece of toast, then layer two pieces of the toast with the bacon, Treviso radicchio, frisée and pickled pear slices. Top with the remaining toast and serve.