This is a tasty savory quick bread that's a great accompaniment to a light dinner (I enjoyed it with a spicy potato dish) or brunch. It's got lots of flavors going on, but they go together quite well. I used black walnuts, which I think were too strong for this bread and did tend to overpower the more subtle sage and pears; next time I would use toasted, chopped pecans or regular walnuts. Bacon may sound a little strange in a quick bread, but trust me, it's delicious!
Bacon Cheddar Quick Bread with Dried Pears (from Dorie Greenspan in Bon Appetit)
5 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese plus 1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubes extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces total)
1/2 cup finely chopped moist dried pears (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
2. Combine bacon, all cheese, dried pears, walnuts, and sage in medium bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, milk, and olive oil in another medium bowl to blend. Pour egg mixture over flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Add bacon-cheese mixture and stir until incorporated (dough will be very sticky). Transfer dough to prepared loaf pan; spread evenly.3. Bake bread until golden on top and slender knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool bread in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely.