Cherries and duck are usually paired on menus at white-tablecloth restaurants, but here we layer them in a crusty baguette with peppery greens and sweet cheese for a more relaxed, portable version.
What to buy: Smoked duck can be found at the meat or deli counter of most gourmet markets and butchers. If you’re having a hard time finding it, your favorite smoked and/or cured meat would substitute beautifully.
Game plan: This is a somewhat messy sandwich to eat because the cherries tend to fall out. We like the bursts of flavor that come from halving the cherries, but you could chop them finely if you’d like to lower the mess factor.
1/3 cup baby arugula leaves, rinsed, dried well, and torn into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (6-inch) sweet French roll
2 ounces smoked duck breast, thinly sliced
1 ounce sweet blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola dolce (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1Heat a grill pan or an outdoor grill to medium (about 350°F).
2Combine the cherries and vinegar in a small, nonreactive bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and set the mixture aside to macerate for at least 10 minutes. In a separate small bowl, toss the arugula leaves with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Slice the roll in half horizontally and pull out the interior of the bottom half to create a pocket.
3When the cherries have macerated and the grill pan/grill is heated, prepare your sandwich. Fill the bottom half of the roll by layering the arugula, duck breast, and cheese, then top with the cherry mixture, including any juices in the bowl. Close the sandwich with the top piece of bread, press down until it’s flattened, and wrap it in aluminum foil.
4Place the sandwich in the heated pan or on the grill and weight it down with a heavy object (a filled teapot or a frying pan works well). Grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, turning over halfway through, about 10 minutes total. Let rest in the foil 3 to 4 minutes before slicing and eating.
Beverage pairing:Benton Lane Pinot Noir, Oregon. Duck and cherries could call for no other grape than Pinot Noir. The Pinot could come from almost anywhere, but the sweet cherries can find their counterpart especially in a new-world version. This wine from Oregon has bright fruit but also a dusty, leafy edge that will pick up the arugula nicely.