Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gorgonzola- & Hazelnut-Stuffed Pears With Pancetta Crisps Over Mache

1 T unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons mild honey (clover)
2 medium firm-ripe red pears, halved lengthwise and cored
kosher salt
8 thin slices of pancetta (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 1 T chopped, toasted hazelnuts
2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce (1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 T Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces mache (about 4 cups)

Preparing the salad:
Preheat oen to 375 degrees F.

Mix the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of the honey in a bowl. Brush the mixture over the cut sides of the pears and season with salt. Arrange the pears cut sides up on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the upper rack until just tender, about 15 minutes.

Arrange the pancetta on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the lower rack until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Mix 1/4 of the hazelnuts, Gorgonzola dolce, thyme and remaining 1 tablespoon of honey with the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove the pears from the oven and divide the cheese filling evenly among the pear cavities. Sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts and bake on the upper rack until the cheese starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Turn the broiler on high and broil until the nuts brown slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Mix the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Toss the mache with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and divide among 4 plates. Top each salad with 2 pancetta rounds and 1 pear half. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4


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